I keep the photograph that I took
of your house, nestled between
the pages of my favourite book, solace in solace.
Stuck to the back
are the four photo booth pictures we took at the mall
in Henrietta, the day we went for a walk
and ate so much ice cream we felt sick.
Walking the spines of books in Barnes and Noble with sticky fingers,
hand in hand.
The book was the same as always,
my father’s copy of The Blackbird that he left in his top coat pocket,
hanging on the back of the hospital chair the night he died.
It still smells of the stale waiting rooms and
has 20p instant coffee rings embedded on the front cover.
Of course, you know that already.
It sat on your bedside table for three months.
Before I start reading, I pick up the photograph
of your house, admiring the royal blue front door
and Pip lying across the doorstep.
I look at each window in turn, remembering
each event that took place in them, each one I crave
on different nights, depending on how much I miss you.
The living room. No longer the ‘lounge’
as you crinkled your nose when I called it that.
The living room, where we lay together
on the sofa, your arms around my waist
as I slept on your chest, pretending to watch The Words,
when really it was just something
to stop the sad silence and feeling of going.
Your bedroom that renamed itself ours,
at least in my mind. I fell asleep hours before you did,
as you sat awake feeding your affair
with words and whiskey, tap, tap, tapping away
into the night. Living with you was like living in a dream
world, as you crawled into bed at 4am and whispered your poetry
against my skin. I could hardly believe you were real.