To Convince Myself You Were Gone

by Paige Cerulli

I canceled your subscription to Writer’s Digest
and when asked of the reason for the cancellation,
told the woman with the overly patient voice
that words weren’t cutting it anymore.

I stopped driving your car around the block
every weekend to keep it turning over smoothly. I placed
an ad in the paper and sold it to a man in his twenties who needed
something cheap but solid for grad school.

And when I’d given your clothes (most)
to Goodwill, and donated your books (most)
to the library, and paid off the last of the bills,
no longer sang along to your CDs on repeat,
had managed to stop listening for your footsteps
on the stairs, for your whistle,

the phone rang and before I could reach it, you came
flooding back to me:
Hello, you’ve reached…
We’re not here…
But we’ll get back to you.

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