The Sounds of You

I hear you
early in the morning.

I hear,
your tires crunching on the gravel drive.
Your key fumbling in the backdoor lock.
The rustling of your coat as you
lay it over the back of the kitchen chair.
Your slow steps down the hallway,
pausing outside our daughter’s open door
to watch her sleep-slowed breathing.
Your habitual detour to pee,
washing your hands, brushing your teeth.

I hear you
entering the room where I lay listening.

I hear,
your labored sigh,
as you lower yourself down on the side of the bed
to remove your heavy mud-encrusted boots
(which, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times, should have been left on the porch).
Your whispered question,
You awake?”
Reaching out to touch you on the back,
to feel the soft cotton of your shirt,
my fingers slip through you
and fall to the mattress.
Raising my head,
you are not there.

But, I hear you.

Your voice carries in the windows
left open to the summer breezes.

It murmurs low, as our daughter laughs,
as at some daddy-daughter joke.

Your whistle shrill, for the dog,
as you load up the truck.

The nearly, but not completely,
silent breath on my neck as you sleep.

Why did I ever think a muddy floor mattered?  

 ©2019 Lisa Smith Nelson. All Rights Reserved


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