Waiting for the downtown 6 at 5 o’clock,
my other life comes rushing back in waves.
A man straps an accordion to his chest, opens
and closes its bellows, delivering long columns
of sound into the stagnant June air.
Across the platform, pairs of schoolchildren
march in procession, arms linked together as if
when someone knows who you are, you won’t get left behind.
You: two years absent, phantom that I drag around.
Me: one year sober, still locked inside myself.
Still sequestered, still on edge.
Private in my infuriating grief—
waking daily from the dream of my father in his hospital bed,
ventilator squeezing and sucking at his chest even after he is gone,
after the blonde nurse has wrapped her clean arms around me,
after the long, low moan of the monitor.
The early morning light blasting through the windows.
The things I couldn’t say.