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Summer Storm / Winter Storm

I’ve been reading up on comfort and chaos. I like missing you.

This piece is part of the Love Letters notebook, which features art by Ali El-Chaer.

Summer Storm

I’m kneeling over the cat. I ask, “Can I help?” and you say, “No—put some music on.” 

No AC. I queue up all of Frank’s albums. The kitchen warms the apartment, and I lie down on the cool wood of the floor, next to the cat. We’re both still sleepy, drowsy from the humid air. I ask, “How’s your day?” and you answer from the other room, “Just like every other.” 

I say, “I was talking to the cat” because I want to hear you laugh. 

I rub his ears between my thumbs, and I think about your face between my palms just earlier that day. Is it true that we begin to resemble what we love? I talk like you sometimes. “Hey, how’s it going?” I can say in your voice. You know the face I make when I want a kiss? You make that face sometimes too. 

What a relief. What a gift to live this day again—the sweat of your neck above the stove, the curve of your shoulder in the afternoon light. Fried rice for lunch and you’re showing me a trick to make the eggs just right. I like when you cook without a shirt on. I say, “Are you sure that’s safe?” but what I mean is, “You are so, so lovely.”

We could live this day a hundred times. Two coffees left unfinished by the sink. A window for us to look through and say, “Look outside.” The rain has already stopped.

Winter Storm

The snow is starting. “I can’t believe the sky is keeping me from you,” I text. 

You send me back a Simpson meme. I laugh. 

We ate breakfast, then parted ways, the way lovers do, with promises of “Maybe I’ll see you later?” and “Don’t miss me too much.” 

I always do. I’m wearing two sweaters and going nowhere. Your shirt, newly washed and neatly folded, is waiting by the door. I keep forgetting to give it back. Your toothbrush is sitting next to mine by the bathroom sink. I turn off my computer—who can work in a blizzard—and sit by the windowsill. I think of you sitting by the windowsill at the diner, the slope of the morning light across your hands.

Recently, I tried to write a poem that started with, When it snows / the whole world is in love. Sometimes I confuse love with silence. Stillness. I’ve been reading up on comfort and chaos. I like missing you. I like watching the sky kiss the ground and thinking about how if you were here, you’d be telling me some obscure fact about how long it takes a snowflake to fall or how snow isn’t white. It’s silly. Even my loneliness is lovely now. In the poem I leave unfinished, I write, I am never lonely / just lost. 

When the snow stops and the world goes on, I will already be on my way to you.