Absence – Stephanie Pritchard

I can still smell                                         the smolder
              from the fire you sparked last night.
I watched you through the window a few times

but stayed inside.     For space.
              You dwelled close to the pit. I watched the smoke curl
around your frame. Darkness wrapped in darkness.

How long have you breathed it all in?
              Trachea, rib cage, lungs – all blackened.
Is anything left?

I close my eyes, try to remember the last time
                  I settled
one ear against your chest. Try            to remember

the last time we were                         close. I could hear some hollow
              sound inside, a dead crackle
like gray smog from wet kindling,

a stagnant glimmer
              where          (I think)
a heart should be.

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