Absent One


When I was a boat,
you were a river, dreaming of oceans.
When I was light,
you were a tree, casting different shadows
depending on where I was relative to you.
When I was an answer,
you were another good question.
When I was a party, you were
Japanese lanterns in the trees, the last guest
to leave. You lived here.
When I was alone, I was
not so alone.
You were always the one who wasn't here,
whose absence my life referred to.
When I was sleep, you were curtains
blowing at an open window
just before dawn.
So I have always counted on you.

If I were a bay horse,
you would be
the long tail hairs of the black horse
that stands next to me
sweeping this world from my eyes.


Veronica Patterson