I thought we’d known each other
for a long time
until I realized that memory
is a tree losing leaves in the wind
every time the season changes.
The bare branches are drawn against the sky,
and a house behind the tree becomes visible,
the windows are open, and the silhouettes
are moving around the room.
Then they leave—one after another,
and what’s left is the coffee cup on the table,
a cigarette burning, pale TV screen,
a black-and-white picture of a woman
in a bonnet on a magazine stand.
It’s quiet; the only sounds come
from outside, and the only connection remaining
between me and him is her
trace in the air, such as women leave in passing,
even when they pretend
they were never there.