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Who Will Not Be Home

I can’t wake from the nightmare you are dead.
I dream of you
smelling the forest on your skin,
have conversations we never had,
like last night’s conversation on the history of our valley;
who owned the land before,
what they farmed,
your Washingtonian twang posing questions
as you do when your country mind ponders and dreams,
holding my hand as you drove
your thumb brushing against my palm.
It was Halloween, the smell of fallen leaves and wood smoke
combined in the car with your immediate scent,
strong like it has been every year.
We talked about who will stay and who will not be home,
who will open the door.
You pulled into our driveway in the afternoon light
and then asked our son to park the car.
Now it morning and I wake still to winter’s chill,
an empty bed,
fall still eight months away;
your absence from my dream a sharp pressure,
my lungs emptied of you.
I throw my arm over my eyes
trying to will myself back into the dream
but I already know the futility of it;
there is no more conversations with you
You now exist only in pictures, in poems
and dreams.
And I must live within this nightmare.

About this poem

Published in The Widow's Handbook. The Kent State Press.2014 From Ariel's Waiting Room Collection.

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Written on February 26, 2011

Submitted by Ariel on September 19, 2021

1:02 min read


Ariel is a full-time Pacific Northwest poet, often participating at Oregon Open Mics events. She has been published in Gold Man Review, AIM, The Widow’s Handbook, and most recently in Terra Incognita, On The Platform Waiting and Free From Monsters. Ariel often collaborates in many Willamette Valley poetry/art projects and is a member of Oregon Poetry Association, Mid-Valley Poets Association, Willamette Writers and Poet. Her website is poetariel.net. more…

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    "Who Will Not Be Home" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 23 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/109935/who-will-not-be-home>.

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