I hear you in the kitchen,
Opening cabinets and clinking silverware.
Mashing your fork into each slice until green squishy ribbons rise between the prongs.
I smell toasted artisan bread,
You’ve slathered with too much butter.
You enter my bedroom,
Wearing that mischievous little boy smile,
Carrying a plate stacked with your prized avocado toast.
Seized by morning light,
Your pale blue eyes capture the sun’s warmth,
I was once convinced that your eyes conveyed love,
But perhaps I experienced only a reflection.
The simple moments are those I most deeply mourn;
You sleeping alongside me,
Your skin just one arm’s length away from my touch.
Your scent on my pillowcases,
Left behind to comfort me.
Mornings in bed drinking coffee,
Plotting another beautifully ordinary day.
When the last drop of hazelnut coffee dried to the bottom of my mug,
I’d walk into the kitchen and close the cabinet doors you’d left open.
Sometimes with a loving heart,
Other times begrudgingly, muttering to myself,
“Who doesn’t close fucking cabinets?”
I’d never known anyone who’d leave cabinets doors wide open,
To crack you in the head as you walked by,
Posing the risk of at least a mild head injury.
I wanted you to close them.
Fearing I’d come across as motherly, or worse, a badgering wife,
I never asked.
I also never asked you whether you wanted me forever,
Until the end.
Deep down somewhere, I already knew that you weren’t brave enough to tell me.
I feared that when I finally mustered the courage to confront you about our future,
You would fold.
And you did.
Did you know,
I awoke each night reaching for you beside me,
Finding cold sheets,
Tears that traveled every route possible down my cheeks to my chin,
Before rocking myself back to sleep?
All the while, you never once turned back.
Your favorite coffee cup is buried deep inside the kitchen cabinets.
I tried several times to throw it away.
I considered giving up avocados,
So I wouldn’t be sadistically haunted by the memories they made.
But I realized that I cannot rid the world of avocados.
So instead, I decided that you don’t fucking own avocados.
You don’t even own love,
Because I do.
I keep the kitchen cabinets safely closed,
Though my heart remains dangerously wide open.
Susan Ciaravella is an emerging writer, lawyer, metalsmith, and a mother. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, by way of New Orleans.