when you’re gone

I hear some tires not quite like yours but I let myself forget
and think, he’s come home at last, though the fantasy fades 
fast. Driving around with the windows down I catch a scent
of baking cookies, a barbecue, a party of some family 
still together, and I turn to smile at you but
you’re not there, so I take in a shallow breath 
and let the tears flow into my flying hair. 
I sit with your family talking effortlessly for hours, 
laughing, and I make an inside joke only you’d know 
and am transported from a full room to an empty field 
in a North Carolina mountain where we took in 
the sun and breeze and held each other close 
and I feel you there with me. I’m not alone. 
I exhale, back to your parents and laugh, 
back in the car and sing, back in our room 
and whisper to you, i carry your heart. 
And the quiet answers back, i carry yours in mine.

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