What You Leave Behind

A closet’s worth of clothes.

Three boxes of books.

Seven pairs of shoes.

Twelve Polaroids from the trip to San Diego.

A ring.

An electric bill for $48.97.

A grease-marred frying pan.

Four friends who don’t return your calls.

The minefield of unspoken grievances.

A collection of ticket stubs from the movies.

A memory, half-remembered, of her first words to you.

Six handwritten notes.

Your mother’s pursed lips.

Hair in the drain.

A town the size of a postcard, tattered at the edges and fading away.

Miles of worn tread.

The armoire.

That feeling, indescribable, induced by streetlamps at 3 in the morning.

The diner that serves breakfast all day.

The pile of magazines you never read.


Her phone number.



Anger. (But not all of it.)

The picture frame she bought you.

Self-esteem. (But not all of it.)

The stuffed elephant you bought her that she left behind when she let go.

A blanket that still smells like her.

Nothing, really.

One broken lamp.

A Collection