The knot in my stomach tightens

Squeezing tears, dripping

Like a drenched towel left on the clothesline in the rain

Twisted in clenched fists.

I’ve missed you so much

Just as you miss him now

But you are still here, yet not.

I often force myself to remember

That playground looks different now,

I don’t recognize it with all the modern greens,

Smaller, less inviting than when we went there,

Tammy in her stroller, I pulled the chain down

Securing her in the metal swing

Now a ghost at that park.

Remember when we were in our own world, playing with dolls,

In the park, in the living room, on the kitchen table,

I need to hold onto those grainy colored snapshots

For that person is no longer here.

Now she sits alone in the kitchen listening to melodies of his native tongue

Understanding better than when he spoke to you.

And you cry as I cry,

Gripping pain, face twisted and squeezed,

You said you wish he would visit you in this desolate place

While I just want you to return to see a pretty sunrise,

Or a red-breasted robin singing in the yard.

But I know you cannot, will not,

Allow yourself such pleasures.

Angry words burn in my head as I realize we are the same


Guilt and loss, a penance

Boring holes too deep to fill with empty words.