Cellular Phones and Time Zones

Lindsay Cortright

The grace period of a letter: 
between the after taste of glue 
on the tip of your tongue 
and the squeak of the mailbox door slamming shut. 

Has anyone ever died trying to retrieve 
a piece of postage? I dropped so many letters
trying to build a sentence
able to deliver intention

across 400 miles of postal route.
Regret has a curfew: 24 hours 
to cancel a plane ticket, minutes to recall 
an email, three days past due 

to return a library book. 
You were already stretched 
taut across the West Coast line, 
but you did your best

to expand. I met you halfway. I wanted
to gift you patience, wrapped in unyielding 
faith and tied with temperance. 
We dined on maybe’s, on what-if’s, 

wine-drunk on hope. I digested
my own stomach and never noticed
I was hungry. I found out you can ruin 
a party without going. Your absence was

present at every holiday we’d planned. 
Nine months have passed. How many infants 
have taken their first breath since we kissed?
There are days I’d do anything

not to be alone and I wonder if I’d leave 
again, if I had another chance. (I would,
but I would never take us back.)
Your face was always my favorite

time of day. Now you are a still
in my home videos, a supporting actor 
with 5 minutes of screen time. I know 
it isn’t real but I can’t imagine

you any other way. You left me

at the airport, my backpack stuffed 
with rewards cards for a city I don’t live in,
postcards of your hometown,

a few thousand extra airline miles,
and about two dozen images of you 
I'd rather not erase.

Lindsay (she/her) is a research project manager by day and a cat mom, hoarder of interests, and queer writer the rest of the time. You can usually find her cycling through a stack of unfinished books or reading about time management as a form of procrastination. You can also find her in multiple places on the web, starting here: LindsayCortright.com.