Absence rings like footsteps in a corridor,
and I’ve become increasingly accustomed to the sound.
It has become like company,
as has the weight of no one’s hand in mine.
I’ve learned to see the acorns
animated in my mind,
the ones that drop and roll across the roof.
No longer a mysterious percussion,
their patter doesn’t trick me into answering the door.
I’ve learned to like the music
of the runoff through my gutters,
the whip of wind by eaves, the scrape
of dormant branches’ fingers.
Everyone wants in (so I pretend)!
The space I occupy is now a prized commodity
but valued most by me for its capacity for silence
and the alchemy it works on every sound.
So I’m keeping this place empty, like the heart of a guitar,
like the darkness where the clapper hangs
in wait inside a bell,
not in hope of some return or change
of mind, but for the listening.
I am keeping this place empty
like the belly of a whale.
This poem was originally published in Issue 18, 2010, of Ruminate magazine