The church bells sound further away
although the church is across the street.
The ringing takes longer to reach me
now that my ears hear less.
They are fainter, like the memory of you
entering on tiptoes, just to catch me napping,
my mouth open as a church door.
You could look inside and see the empty pews.
Ever since you left, there is nothing to hear
worth listening to. Everything familiar went too.
Bells cracked. The longer you are gone,
the more I forget the nights you were here.
But your voice is ringing faraway: Reach me!
Martin Willitts Jr won the William K. Hathaway Award for Poem of the Year 2012, co-winner of the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest, and 2013 national full-length winner with "Searching For What Is Not There" (Hiraeth Press).