You Left

By | 1 February 2019

I can’t pretend I can’t sleep
to get up and interrupt you
You’re not on the walls
or in the bathroom drawer
You don’t pour
milk into my mug
Dad does
(he adds extra Quik)
but he can’t
ponytail my hair
or boil breakfast eggs
You’re not cutting
carrots into sticks
or standing
like a thumb
in the mix
of other mothers
at the school gate
You left
empty shelves
where your books used to be
I don’t hear the kettle
boiling for your tea
I don’t hear you
singing at the sink
pink lips and rubber gloves
I can’t dip my fingers
in the suds
I can’t see
your curly words
on permission
or on lunchbox lovenotes
underneath my ham and cheese
You don’t put
your hands
on your hips
You took your dresses
you left us
in boxes
Your voice
is on the end
of the phone
When you come home
you kiss me with
chewing-gum breath
a lipstick print
on my cheek
And then you leave
I can still smell your perfume neck

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