You’re Still Gone

mars is as close
           as it will ever be
that would have excited you
           come out            come out
that dazzling smile
the fourth planet
           pink and plump
           a rare pearl up there
who else knows
i was not always faithful or good
where’s my right to ask
           may i sleep now
with mars in silent vigil
nine lunar cycles since you left
where’s my new love
so all may scold
my mantra used to do the trick
           sh’rim sh’rim sh’rim
just not working now
on and on i try
           and when from the bed
                  please don’t go away yet
i did sometimes stay longer
earning scant grace
allow this old mantra some power
how easy to become hospital educated
pulse/ox steady at 72/99
a few O2 generators
           pulsing out 15 liters along sinuous tubing
           to a hissing cannula so loud you
                  what            what
you kept asking
i miss you so much
           what              what
i said i miss you




All the Filled Empty Space

After i emptied your tall dresser of sweaters
night gowns and workout clothes there remained
one drawer of hairpins, scrunchies, reading glasses
pulse-oximeters, opera glasses, ribbons and bows
not to mention volunteer lanyards
that could not be given away
merely saved in some corner
where if i could there would have been
a discreet baggie of your epithelial cells
or better yet echo Donne and his flea
by inhaling those cells to have them become me
but the neighbor came and hauled the empty
piece away apparently leaving space
but a space with substance that jars me when
i walk through that invisible cube which fills
me with memories and images of you wearing
all that has been passed along to others
photographs used to rest on top now stacked
in another room that left behind residual
motes of people and places i detect
when i walk through an area once holding
a drawer with winter sweaters now on the bed
next to nightgowns from drawer four
oh i don’t want to dwell on this
mere material but memory links to senses
and scent, appearance and touch are not to
be scoffed at       filling
as they do
what should be empty space     




[Burgess Needle writes out of Tucson and is a former Peace Corps Volunteer. His work has appeared in: Concho River Review, Brittle Star (UK), Centrifugal Eye, Flutter, Raving Dove, Autumn Sky, Santa Fe Literary Review, Connotation Press and Iodine. His collection THAI COMIC BOOK, was published in 2013 by Big Table Publishing. He’s currently editing a journal he kept while teaching in Thailand, and also finishing a book length piece of creative non-fiction. Website: www.burgessneedle.com]


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