Although she has now left, she has not completely disappeared.
Her name is a word, living on in the dictionary, with a definition.
It appears in the mundane conversations anyone could have,
and he hears it being used unwittingly, haphazardly, cheaply.
At least the smell of her cannot persist in the same way.
The molecules that carry it will dissipate, and find themselves
diminished, maybe even recycled. But still he wonders whether
laundering her clothes and then taking them to the thrift shop
in plastic sacks will help the process – if this is what it is –
or simply close a door that cannot then ever be re-opened.
What lingers on the other side will never vanish, just become
inaccessible. Photographs are more predictable. They can be
stowed away in albums or boxes, and looked at again from
time to time, or not. One or the other will probably help somehow,
and on certain days he may even know which of them it is.
Robert Ford lives on the east coast of Scotland. His poetry has appeared in both print and online publications in the UK and US, including Picaroon Poetry, The Lake, Liminality and San Pedro River Review. More of his work can be found at https://wezzlehead.wordpress.com/.