Now that you are gone, my gaze
    circles the room
and then repeats itself
like rings in an ancient tree.

My arms
assume the shape
    of the place you once filled:
They open wide
and then close, out of time,
like the mouths of the mute
    hearing voices flooded with song.

I peer into your closets and drawers,
though I know they're all empty.
I stare at the mirror down the hall, but
    it looks back at me, detached,
like a fellow traveler on a train to whom
I am simply one less seat.

I am in my own way, and even
my shadow
has made other plans
     that don't include me.

John lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he manages a consulting firm focused on non-profit organizations in the fields of environmental protection and public health.  He has been writing poetry since he was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, where he also served on the poetry staff of Chicago Review. John's work has appeared in
Concise Delight.


This poem was written following the breakup of a youthful romance that left me feeling
deeply melancholy and lost. Until we parted, I did not realize how much my own identity and sense of self had become integral to this relationship. The more my efforts to fill this void proved fruitless, the more I became alienated from myself. It was a painful and yet revealing growth period.



Copyright 2009