The third month after your death
I dig out the black sweater I brought from the home
which is no longer our home the way
you are no longer my wife
and withdraw again into your brother’s city
that resembles no place we ever lived together:
blank trees overhanging immaculate lawns,
strip malls with burrito shops and tanning salons,
children who make the usual games with their boredom.
Ed offers me work as we walk between houses.
He points out the chimneys to still replace,
how the neighborhood practices neglect in all of the usual ways.
No piece of this landscape resists our expectations.
Some nights I sit up chewing antacids or cough drops,
thinking about the old neighborhood
and how we’d walk the buckle of avenues,
catching up on the smallest details of our time apart.
It was the last time I saw you alive:
yesterday, last night, a few minutes ago.
What binds memory to memory
is the absence we let go in-between.
We once spent six years
trying to decide what would happen next.