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Winter ghosts

It’s been so many years 

Since you were more than a ghost

Yet I return to you, grasping

At nothing but air

Though I finally appreciate you

The way I should have

When our knees threatened connection on a summer porch

You sit with me through the dark and the cold

I feel your hand on my back

An icicle on my spine

And I wonder why we waited so long to touch

I’d touched others

They had your face

And I could have sworn it was you

When the sun returns, you release me

As though that’s what I want

Perhaps it’s my penance

Only getting the winter together

The time when it’s so hard to see

There are things I’d wished we’d done before

You’d decided to go it alone

Things I wish I’d had the courage for

That I’d licked sweat off the side of your neck

After you’d come back from a long run

The taste of you and your efforts filling my head

Like the smoke of the longing does now

That our bodies were slick with moonlight in a lake

Somewhere we weren’t supposed to be

That I’d kissed you the way you deserved

With presence and delight and deep gratitude

My eyes peeking open to see yours closed 

Not just a passing peck in fear of what could be

Of the woman I would have to become

If I let you inside

Though it seems you already knew

The back way in

That I had engulfed the physical form of you

So I would have something to carry

Beyond wondering and wishing

That I had taken the time to commit you to memory

Your odd way of speaking

An affect I recall noting

Though the specifics evade me now

Your frequent use of the side eye

Whatever it is your middle initial stands for

Anything that could help me piece together

The you I want so much to hold

I should have known you were only passing through

Your frame seemed impossibly light

But it carried with it the whole of my heart

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