By Anita Tanner
Some people move away without leaving—
when you see them you can’t tell
where they are.
Others accompany their parting
with angry words—
you don’t discern the silence inside.
You’ve seen them crying in the bedroom
behind locked doors
or standing at the kitchen sink
as if they were present,
their eyes holes turned toward you.
Morning and night a palm of pills
may take away a certain few,
others refuse medication.
Someone’s wife wants to leave after dark
but ends up sleeping every day instead.
Some work hard to seam up their souls
with threads of sleep
but their minds weary the weave
like sleeves unraveling.
Some leave by touching too much,
in the wrong places, with the wrong people.
Some never touch,
losing even the feel of keys, coins, pebbles
from deep pockets of grief.
Some pack every day just in case,
then unpack or leave a full suitcase
under the bed or just run out the door,
nothing but arms and legs.
You can holler all you want, Don’t leave,
but the moving will go on
even after they decide to stay.