I don’t know which is worse
The Leaving, or
when you’d Gone

The silent packing
The way we made sure
not to brush shoulders, as
we passed in the hallway
Eyes forcused so hard on everything
except each other
Steeled to what was ahead
To what we thought we must do

The last night
Should we sleep back to back?
Turned away?
Clinging to the edge of our bed, or
one of us sprawled in the middle?
The other curled
on the hard couch?

In the end, we didn’t sleep at all

In the morning
Your hand on the door
The way I helped load the car
Our car, now yours
You took one dog, I took the other
Our dog, now yours

It couldn’t be worse than all this
I thought
I thought: it will be better when it’s over

Making a clean break, as the All-So-Wise say
But then you were really

All of it
The morning coffees
The evening walks with the dogs
The poisoned tongues
The ledger of wrongs

All of it


The house howled with the echo of your absence
The streets teamed with strangers who ducked their heads
Seemingly embarrassed by my obvious aloneness
My half-ness
My torn in two-ness
Jagged and raw

Ripped off

I don’t know which was worse
Either way

It was over

-Kim Beyer-Johnson