Extra place set at your mind's table:expectant glass, untasted wine
turned to vinegar. Another faceless moonbegs at the window. Everywhere the impossible
presence: voice that doesn't callfrom upstairs, nobody who'll appear,
who now, behind a locked bathroom door,washes, brushes hair, drops a towel
for you to hang. Nothing's ever unfair.No C in French. No midnight curfew.
No talking back, no not-speaking-to.When was it you began to hear
silence: clear, insistent, steadyas a heartbeat, asking, How weren't you ready?
Grateful acknowledgment is due the editors of First Things, in whose pages an earlier version of this poem first appeared.
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