Cellular Phones and Time Zones
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.