The Departure
by Mary Redman

A neat roll of blanket and pillow lay next to me
each night for years, a man-sized shape,
holding his place, lulling me
with the sound of his breathing by my side.
Mornings I saw him skim the news and drink
his coffee as I stirred children from sleep, dressed
and fed them on their way, went on mine.
Years piled on routine: scraping his chair
across the kitchen floor to push away,
the cursory kiss each day, and the ridge dividing
us as we slept, inching ceaselessly upward.
His presence was as certain as my own
heartbeat and the rising of the sun. Blind,
from staring at his light so long, I was stunned
to learn he’d left so long ago.

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