When I found out that you had gone, I was so heartbroken that I made grief my permanent address. I changed the pronunciation of my name, shifting and stirring the letters just to hear your whisper underneath. My palms outward, I perched on the stoop of my sadness, a mailbox full of good intentions, and all I could do is watch the clouds for you.
Every sunrise is slightly bitter without you – like black coffee, but without the warmth. It still stings my throat when I breathe in too deeply.
This time last year I didn’t know. I had no idea. You sent me a poem the night before and I meant to read it. I promise I did read it. But I didn’t answer fast enough.
I cut six inches off my hair when I found out you had died. It was the only logical move at the time, the cleanest way to advertise my new address: heartbreaking, earth-ending sadness, the type that swallows entire families during hurricane season.
You said we were going to get better, and I believed you. But then you left me here and now I’m not sure better will ever come the way we intended – which is to say, there will never be a better that is good enough because we won’t get to share it.
Sometimes I mix your words with mine. I can’t remember which one of us said we could feel the other’s heart in those quiet moments. You told me I’d like the storms down in Durango, how the thunder ricochets off the stone-faced mountains – but I have grown too familiar with the emptiness of my chest, the way your name roars in its hollows.
Mah-nee. Mani. My little star child.
I’m going to commit you to my skin, fresh ink, your words a promise that I will never break. I will carry you into every success, every heartbreak, every fresh day. In that way, my love, you will breathe again.