You adopt my mess like it is your own
veiled child. And at Yule, I’ll throw
your name into the fire. The crackle
of the flames rhapsodizes the time
I was in your driveway in September,
lemons and limes weighing down
my pockets, when the guilt tore me
to ribbons on your twin size bed. I mistook
the clouds outside your window for mountains
on the horizon. It’s a slow parade
of memories. There was that song in the background.
I needed to know it. It was beautiful,
but I couldn’t catch the lyrics. I didn’t know how
I’d ever find it again, find you again, but I really
hoped I would. And as I enjoyed the last seconds,
looking at you was bittersweet. I didn’t
know what I needed until I heard it. And then
it was gone. And I just have to be happy
that I got to hear it in the first place, even
if I never get to hear it again.
I stayed up late watching the steam dance
off of your cup, you were stirring me into your tea.
Our words made a spiderweb of delicate lace.
And when the fire extinguishes itself,
profound silence, a cherished haunt.
I spent half my life not knowing
who you were. And the other half
trying to live without you.
Layla Lenhardt is Editor in Chief of 1932 Quarterly. She has been most recently published in Rust + Moth, Glass Mountain, Poetry Quarterly, and Pennsylvania Literary Journal. She is a 4th place finalist in Poetry Super Highway’s 2019 Poetry Contest. www.laylalenhardt.com