the widow

she sits in a bathtub,
drenched in the warmth of late afternoon,
and wonders about love.

it is cliche.
it is also important.

her fingers slide along her
chest, counting the hidden scars.
seventeen that she can feel,
more that she can’t.
but that isn’t important,
not right now,
because she’s thinking about love.

it isn’t passion she remembers,
not fingernail scratches or gasps
or quiet suggestions that maybe
the slipper-socks should come off.
she doesn’t think about the secret smiles,
or the smell of cinnamon,
or even the voice saying i love you, you know
[because she did know].

she thinks about silence
about those moments in between breaths,
in between heartbeats,
in between words.
she thinks about how tangible
it was, how soft and warm and light
and then she thinks about the
silence that’s with her now,
the silence that’s seeping through
her pores,
splashing in her lungs,
hovering in her head.

she looks at the razor she’s been holding for an hour.
she looks at the paper-thin skin on her wrists.
she continues thinking.

it’s worse than silence, she decides.
it’s nothingness.
silence is the absence of noise
and this is the absence of everything.

she never even cried.

her hand begins to tremble.
her muscles tense.

she can’t taste. she can’t feel. she
can’t hear anything and she can’t
see anything and she can’t
smell anything

except cinnamon.

she pauses.
the shampoo bottle is still open,
the familiar smell drifting into the sunny room.
she looks away and her eyes settle on
a pair of slipper-socks,
unceremoniously thrown in the laundry pile.

she puts down the razor.
she drains the bath.
she wraps a towel around herself.
and she emerges from the bathroom
with seventeen scars and tears streaming down her face.

and that is important.


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