I love you. I miss you. Please get out of my house.
Nothing today hasn’t happened before:
I woke alone, bundled the old dog
into his early winter coat, watered him,
fed him, left him to his cage for the day
closing just now. My eye drifts
to the buff belly of a hawk wheeling,
as they do, in a late fall light that melts
against the turning oak and smelts
its leaves bronze.
Before you left,
I bent to my task, fixed in my mind
the slopes and planes of your face;
fitted, in some essential geography,
your belly’s stretch and collapse
against my own, your scent familiar
as a thousand evenings.
I might have dismissed as hunger
this cataloguing, this fitting, this fixing,
but today I crest the hill, secure in the company
of my longing. What binds us, stretches:
a tautness I’ve missed as a sapling,
supple, misses the wind.
Copyright © 2023 by Donika Kelly. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 10, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.