A vague smell of Rose Hips
lingers on my beard, inhale
and I remember it all;
tilted blinds, floors littered
with clothes, bags, and books.
Empty bottles line a path
to our bed. Time reveals all
the furtive truths we avoid
Your canteen resides on the bedside
table now, your water inside me,
although Atlantic waters separate us
like ripples on a blank shore.
I Am Not A Stray
Because I know I’m not a stray
I’ll take comfort in a warm bed
knowing you would never stay.
Wet cigarette butts fill an ashtray,
like misread words or those left unsaid
that let me know I am not a stray.
Most nights I lay by the end of the driveway…
It can’t be just me who feels this Red Thread,
even though I know you could never stay.
These Days I feel like somebody’s castaway,
but there is always a bowl where I can be fed
from, since I’m not really a stray.
It’s never “goodbye” that we say,
always “see you later” instead
when you go, and I stay.
I have all the time to hang around for someday.
Until then, I’ll take the comfort of a warm bed
because deep down I know I’m not a stray,
even though you’ll never come home to stay.
In the Silence Where You and I Remain
and in that silence where you and I remain
I turn the ignition from the passenger’s seat
look over at the empty driver’s, my feet up
on the dash, as I pat the top of a pack
against the palm of my hand to the rhythm
of the song on the radio: the one rule
of this car. I flip two, then light a cigarette
with the car lighter. Every once in a while
I get it just right, and it smells like when Dad
picked us up from Mom’s in the green Saab.
With windows closed, here we pervade the space.
My decaying form, engulfed by your formless
silence, but in that silence we remain.
It’s where I feel closest, my shoes dirtying the dash,
halfway between this evening dark and an afternoon
when you scolded me about the mud on my boots.
I shift behind the wheel and I’m flooded.
My eyes are on the road, but behind them
mannerisms of yours play like puppet theater.
The way your foot always hangs over
the bed with your other leg bent inward,
a pillow grasped underneath your side.
Taylor Steinberg teaches English to eat, and writes poetry to live. His poems have been published in the Hudson Valley Chronogram, Awosting Alchemy, SUNY New Paltz Stonesthrow Review, and Cellar Door.