I woke up hungry and I called for you,
But there was no answer because you were gone.
I lay there and I tried not to think
tried not to focus
on the empty space inside me where you used to be.
I rolled over and I closed my eyes tight,
Whispered ‘no, I’m not crying
These tears are a parting gift,
compensation for the prizes I didn’t win,
but thanks for coming out and being on the show.’

I wrapped my arms around myself,
I tried not to pretend they were yours,
But just between you and me…
Wait, the only thing between you and me
is the heavyweight quiet of a house where you don’t live anymore.
I didn’t realize how much room you took up
Until you took all that life with you.
What you left behind? It isn’t death
Death is not empty.
But at this moment,
I am.

It broke my heart that you didn’t say goodbye.
Just pushed me away in increments,
the silence pressing against my skin,
A surface tension stretched tight with unmet need.
I saw the fire dying, though I was still feeding it,
and you didn’t have the strength to tell me it had already gone out.
You didn’t want to be the one to hurt me
But that grim line that used to be a smile ripped me in two.

I think this is how a hedgehog must feel
on those days when it forgets
Which way to curl
And all the prickles stab from the inside out.
But hiding only works for so long.
Even with breath held and mind quiet
The dull thump in the centre of my chest
Pushes back against the sticky temptation of inertia
A tick-tock
to-do list
moments count
and 1 more time..
A consistent beat that finds its way
To ears
To fingers
To toes
A slow motion woodpecker rat-a-tat
Poking holes in my theory that I can’t go on
Without you.