the house smells of rosemary
and cambodian pepper—

they don't necessarily
induce nostalgia,

but i don't need to smell
or taste to remember

those yearnings banked
tight behind the grate.

you are convinced i took
my heart out of my chest,

and that is what made it
possible to leave you

all those years, and travel
to this land of forsaken winters

where, left to myself,
i only read books and did

nothing consequential.
you are convinced i can't

put it back in place again;
or that i don't want to

anymore. nights, when the wind
howled and rattled the ice

ornaments worn by trees,
i didn't bother with plates.

i scooped rice directly from
the pot to my mouth. it usually

took a week to eat all the way
to the bottom. nothing i say

can convince you of the depth of my
longing. I suppose it's hard to see what

a body has to do to keep alive, or
what time has shielded from it.

i suppose it feels like a sea
emptied of all its whale songs.

there are bands of moving shadow;
perhaps boats are crossing the water.

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