Chris Young

The First House

How I was there I don't know.
I don't know
how what came down came down
but you can see that it did
in the way my eyes go back and forth
from window to table to you
to nothing to window to what is almost gone
and far from here. I know that place now
the way I know what I know in dreams—
this body, this you I have never touched
and how I wait to almost kiss you.
I know this place
is gone the way you are gone.
And I know when I close my eyes
this time I will kiss what is there.

Under Sky and Ceiling

I lived then.

Within off-white walls
and voices, I heard doors
shutting. Sometimes at night
someone suddenly up and moving, probably
leaving. Or coming back.

Mornings, no one. And the rooms
left unwrinkled, every piece
as if nothing had been touched. Light
everywhere balanced, achieved.

Some days, there was proof,
though there was no one, someone
lived there.

open windows. A clock radio, a light
left on in a bedroom. A woman's
slacks, the blouse she might have worn
that day still laid out on the chair.
The man's shoes, usually by the door,

If I waited,
I thought there would be return.
Or even glimpse.

In that place
I mostly believed
in one life
coming after another.

Before This Quiet Comes Undone

tonight rain
clicks like footsteps on the sidewalk and I hear you
saying something about what might come next
as you begin to let go you lie crossed
in your own arms on the bed saying where you're going
to live and how long it might be
before you can get your things together
now your glasses and coffee cup the page you're turned to
are all rooted in a quiet apart from all of this
I am looking at the clothes you wore
yesterday folded against the back of the chair
as if where they are creased there is still a leg
or an arm where the button is undone there
is your collarbone and neck when I come to the face
they are just clothes again without you
I am the one missing before it's clear
I am skyways and avenues into you days and days
away from this and you now
against me closing your eyes
as we listen not far from the window holding
our silence up to the rain
holding each other up to the silence that falls
before sleep

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