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There will be wreckage when I’m gone. Notes on paper napkins, scattered on the floor around your bed. A half-sipped cider in the fridge. Lipstick print on the wine glass. One black sock tangled in your bedsheets.
When you open your eyes to a new morning, you will find me in the smells—fresh earth outside your window, lilac and rose on your pillow, the mint of toothpaste on your breath. You will roll over and discover a hair of mine intermixed with yours. You’ll shrug out of your clothing, start the shower water, and feel a shiver run down your back,
the softness of my hands along your spine
the way I kissed you so tenderly you were suddenly afraid
your world would absolutely change from this moment on
and you were right to be scared.
Because I left footprints on your heart.
Delicate and deliberate,
treading a path, a place
for me, for us.
And as you watch that water fall from the faucet, feel the drops hot and fierce against your skin, you bite back all the words you couldn’t say to me, all the regret that tastes like last night’s beer, sticky and sour on your tongue.
So you step forward into that water
let it run over you,
trying to erase
the memory of me.
But you can’t
because the water is wild like rain
And there will be a storm when I’m gone. Bills strewn across the counter. Empty cans and bottles lining the table by the door. Messages left unread in your inbox. Boxes piled on the kitchen chair where I used to sit, where we used to exchange stories like currency, buying our way deeper into each other’s hearts.
You will feel me in the silence. When my absence is tangible, when you inhale quiet air and long for the steadiness of my lungs in rhythm with yours.
You will feel me in the way the world just doesn’t seem right. Only one pair of shoes at the door. Only one set of keys on the table. Only one bottle of shampoo—lilac scented—that you open when the water runs, just to breathe in the scene of me,
how we laughed and cried and felt
and fell apart.
And you didn’t fight. Didn’t stay. Didn’t keep me from running away when you broke me. Because I did run. And I did learn that the sound of my soles on the pavement was a greater comfort
than I ever found in you.
And so you will feel me when I leave
like all the threads that hold you together