Driving through the center of a town that’s not mine, I saw a store on the corner of a street I’d never cross and in the window a sign said SALE said CLOSING and it made me miss you for being gone, miss a stranger for never having met. I fear next time you see me I’ll be gray. And sometimes (I confess) I’m scared of death (and sleep), or not scared, but unwilling to leave the nightstand stack, the hiking path, the screened-in porch, his dimpled cheek, you, all I know or have never known, for this too, I already love. I kissed you in a dream, amid flood, amid ruins, and I couldn’t find my blue suitcase when it came time to go. I walked around holding everything I had in my hands, looking. Maybe what I fear most is an empty store that once sold furniture—tables, lamps, settees—to people like me who stay so we remain apart. Maybe all of life is a lesson in how to feel far from what you love. Like how I trailed that one Jeep on a long drive across back roads, learned the way it hugged the curves, the flicker of its brake lights, but never stopped in the same place. And here I am in an evening kitchen, looking out at the house on the hill, loving all the things that will leave, by which I mean, everything.
Dina L. Relles’ work has been/will be in The Atlantic, matchbook, Monkeybicycle, Hobart, Passages North, DIAGRAM, River Teeth, and Wigleaf, among others. She is the Nonfiction Editor at Pidgeonholes and an Assistant Prose Poetry Editor at Pithead Chapel. More at http://www.dinarelles.com or @DinaLRelles.
Cover Photo by Khairil Zhafri