Just last week I watched as a high school quarterback threw a football in a perfect spiral to a player sprinting down the sidelines. Their echoed, joyous, “Oh, yeah” split the hollow space of the cement stadium.
This week, they are gone. I wondered at how they made the artificial turf so green; it seems to shine without light.
The dog and I have the streets to ourselves. Once weeds were pulled, the lawn raked and the mulch set, there was little else to do outside. A cloth mask adorns a lawn ornament.
Silence is relative. There is always a distant hum, a soft grumbling that brushes my shirtless arm and penetrates this neighborhood calm.
But this silence is consuming; no sound escapes from the still homes to overpower it or mask the slapping of my shoes on the hard, cold road.
Your voice lingers, dusky, elusive as your smoky eyes.
I drove past your house and recalled the day we drove back from the beach and missed the turn on the shortcut and tried to make a u-turn over this narrow bridge and when we stopped, you pulled me from the car and sat on the hood and I licked the salt from your skin.
All these days, all these dreams, bottled up, no one to tell.
They are what gets said in the messages and texts we send, our shaky voices that fill answering machines, not knowing who or when that collection of halting, hopeful words will be heard.
I would put a rose in your mailbox if it would help.
We want the cough to be nothing. The sneeze allergies.
We want the other side of the bed to be filled again, to hear another sigh;
Wanting not to take that ride.
We want to be laughing, stopping behind a tree to kiss,
To be in the sun, eyes closed, passing bad jokes; not in this hallway,
Not with this burden.
We want be as young as we felt
In the days before Monday.