In French, you don’t say “I miss you,” you say “tu me manques,” which is closer to “you are missing from me.

Like an organ, a limb, or blood itself, how essential
you were to my body— In hospice, it wasn’t a metaphor
when I said you were taking half my heart with you.
What’s left of it is still beating, but faintly, faintly.

Many people wished me joy at Christmas this year.
How could they not know that joy is far away,
inhabits another country, one where my passport
isn’t any good?

Whenever one of us traveled, we would try to look
at the moon at the same time each night,
its pearly light, a strand that tied us together.
Now it’s just a cold stone.

One part of me still thinks you’re on a business trip
and will be home soon. Mais c’est impossible.
Tu me manques.
Every day, I get out of my empty
bed and put on my game face, go to the grocery store,
pay bills.

Which is difficult to do, with only half a heart
that goes on beating anyway, lub a dub. Lub a dub.
Barbara Crooker

poems online



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