When You Were Gone

by Julia Pileggi

In the morning, I stood up, sticky and sweaty.
I walked to the fridge with weight. 
I felt a stillness. 
This house has been quiet since you left.

When you were gone I slept on your side of the bed and 
didn’t wake up once during the night. There could only 
be two reasons—
1) Because your side is better than mine or 
2) Because I sleep better when you are gone.

When you were gone I cleaned the house and sat in silence. 
I read on the balcony while I grilled chicken wings in a 
marinade I had invented (You would have loved them).
I slept naked. 
I didn’t flush the toilet every time. I danced. 
I had friends over for cherries and pistachios. 
I moved your chair to the other side of the room. 
I watched the fireworks. 
I smoked your weed. 
I listened to music. I stretched. I sang. 
I stayed up late. 
I fell asleep on the couch. 
I touched myself. 
I took a long shower. I fell asleep on the couch. 
I washed the dishes. I scrubbed the grill. 
I ate ice cream. 
I ate ice cream. 
I ate ice cream. 
I missed you most in the afternoon when the daylight
no longer knew which color it wanted to be. 
I watched a video of us singing in the park. 
I smiled out loud. I thought about what it would be like 
to dance for you—If you’d ever get over yourself.
I thought about what it would be like to flirt with you like
you were a stranger—If I could ever get over myself. 
I looked at my nails a lot. I wrote. 
I talked to angels. 
I listened. 
I mapped out five different garage sales happening 
around our home and planned to go to each one.
I didn’t. I tricked time. 
I crushed hunger. 
I did not cry.
I did not drink. 
I did not lock the sliding door.

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