It’s about what you do, but also what you don’t.
It’s about what you touch, what you smell, what you linger on.
It’s about what you refrain from thinking,
About the nooks and crannies you avoid at home
(The new geography of your home,
filled with countries conquered by the absence,
now inaccessible to you).
It’s about the unwanted small freedoms you inherited from the pain:
Not taking him out when you wake up in the middle of the night,
Leaving the door of the basement open
without the fear of him falling down the stairs,
Leaving the door of the bedroom open – for the same reason,
Leaving the gate open without having him wonder out into the street,
Not cooking for him,
Not cleaning after him,
Not locking the living-room to protect the carpet,
Not having to mind his habit of finding himself tangled between your legs
– or right behind you as you turn,
Not bringing up an extra breakfast every morning,
Not picking him up to go upstairs
on shutting the house for the night.
Such freedoms, I can do without
Most of all it is about the absence
His ubiquitous absence
A thick quicksand of an absence
A pervasive, invasive, all permeating absence
With an ineffable throat I cannot choke
An absence that leaves a bottomless hole
That I nevertheless try to fill
So I remember, I look at pictures and seek his presence,
Just out of the corner of my eye
As the hole gets bigger