What We Leave Behind

Christmas, 2005 / No. 15

Sometimes the world crashes madly

Out there, and in here it smells like rain

And beats evenly at thin windows.

Inside, we are tired and naked.

It’s cooler and darker, and I’m too happy

Not to think about everything you will leave behind:

An invitation to a party, sent to your mother

At seventeen, in her burning touristy homeland,

A list of your grandfather’s horses

You’d like me to lay bets on a photograph or two,

A friend’s phone number, a note you’d written

To stick on my door when you thought I’d be out.

But I wasn’t out—instead we made awkward gestures,

Leaned into the door frame, and kissed suddenly,

For the second time. The snow still damp on your collar.

My boots drying on a plastic mat. I thought I might never

Want to see you again. Just love you from this place,

Or follow and die gently in a squall.