All my words are kept for the children,
sequestered to chronicle little tempests and successes,
swaddles of coats and jumpers, boots slightly large
on feet as the oldest takes her chances
in every puddle she can find.
Instead of the resting hollow of your hip,
my words now know the fit of skull and cheek
against my shoulder, the weight
of each of our babies as they fall asleep.
I write the rasp of breaths lovely in my ear,
how pillows furrow with their heavy heads.
I compress this life into a collage
of simile and verse. Discover
that writing them is like carrying a lake
in my hands, too much lost
by the time pen meets page.
In our years together, love, I have written you
with all the heart a pen can hold, your warmth
recalled in every city we passed through.
Nights wrapped in hotel sheets
after hours drinking with strangers,
the heady risks of our early years.
These days those stories don’t fall easy into ink.
My poems exist in how small faces startle
when the light switch alters evening in the kitchen,
the way little fingertips pad a pane of glass
in the burnt umber twilight before the rain comes.