Her Absence

by Graham Hillard


       But whether he slept or not I dare not say;

       he could have remembered many things.

               -Lines from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Like the smell of her, as deep and familiar

as a forgotten life taken up again,

changed while one is away, but navigable,

the streets of it paved and straight

and lighted.  


There is always that,

isn't there? Memory culls the mainspring

of what can be kept.


Perhaps he tries to remember

the touch of her hand on his face,

storing up what he can for tomorrow,

for his leaving,

       for her absence.