The next time you see me
all you will see
will be a shell
of what I used to be
a vessel
just as smooth at sea
and put together
as you remember
and you won’t know
that its contents
are broken.

From the corner of your eye
you watch me now
fumbling in my silence
you don’t credit
the universe of stars
falling around me
purging my sky of light,
my romantic ideals
walking their last walk
toward the execution ground
somberly waiting for death
with their backs
to the firing squad
like common traitors.

You think you know me
you’ve always seen me
rise from every fall
and love again
as I’ve loved before;
but since he broke my heart
things are not the same.
I count the days,
and they are just days
that play poker with months
and pass bluffs to years.
Conversation is old
and I hold to my bosom
the energetic nephews
and vibrant nieces
born to my
proudly beaming cousins
with the hesitant certainty
that mine
is a different path from theirs,

one that is populated
by pauses,
heavy curtains,
lightweight laundry baskets
and sensible slippers against
the cold Florentine floors
of solitude.

The next time you see me,
you may wonder about
where I could have gone,
the fire you’ve once known
in my eyes
will be divided then
from now
by one loss
I never recovered from.