Sixteen Days, 2012

Sixteen days with him gone
and it wasn’t so bad, in the end.
I admit, I dreaded single-parenting
even though the kids were in school
forty hours a week.

The weekends were long.

But the children are easier
now that she is five and he
is almost three. Despite water
poured over the bathroom floor
and the living room floor
and, mysteriously, the bedroom,
the house seems to have
survived. The tomato plants
are denuded — the boy will pick them
still green, despite every admonition.
And she has endured more than
her normal share of hair-pulling,
toy-throwing, and outright hitting.

Still, we are all still alive,
even the dog. There were moments
when I wondered.

And the worst of it in the end
wasn’t the parenting at all
but simply missing him.

We were never joined
at the hip; one or the other
of us was often away
for a few days at a time,
or holed up in our offices
even when at home.

It’s a surprise to discover
after twenty years
and two late-born children
that I still ache for him
when too many days slip by.

The children are safely sleeping
but I am counting the minutes
until he walks in the door.

A surprise to discover I miss him so —
and also, after twenty years,
a relief.


August 19, 2012