by Terri Drake

Published in Issue No. 297 ~ February, 2022

I said longing because it came closest

said song because we sang

said distance said absence

took pictures of your bookshelf

because I wanted to read what you read

wanted your mind inside my mind

wanted to inhabit your house

on the white-washed prairie

to watch the fields in all seasons

where you daydreamed your work into being

I said don’t go you said I know

I never wanted to

I said dead and meant all instances

of everyone I’ve ever loved now altered

now image candlelit on my altar

ghost photos I pray to at night

I said dead because you sing

to me from the fields at night

become chorus with crickets and owls

I said chorus but chorus was never right

because there is no word for when the dead

call out to us I said call

you said response I said what shall I sing to you

from the wide-awake night you say comet

you say stardust you say meteor shower

I say how is it that still the earth revolves

I said revolves when I meant absolves you

from your leaving I said absolves

when I meant you dissolve

your body now body of water

your shore now far-flung

boomeranged away

I said return

when I meant its opposite

I meant the world before the afterworld

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Terri Drake is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her poetry collection, "At the Seams" was published by Bear Star Press. She has a chapbook forthcoming, “Regarding Us,” from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared or have been accepted for publication in Crab Creek Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Poets Reading the New, Quarry West, Perihelion, Heartwood Literary Magazine, and Open: Journal of Art and Letters, among others. She is a practicing psychoanalyst living in Santa Cruz, California.