In Texas, water is the color of scuffed leather, dusty cowboy boots,
the bag you packed without speaking.
It’s amazing how fast you disappeared from the apartment:
one day your coffee mug was missing from the counter.
There were half has many spoons when I opened the drawer.
You left the postcard on the fridge door, Houston vibrant
under the plastic seashell magnet from Cove Beach,
remnant of our first trip together.
I look at it while I eat breakfast in pajamas: the Batman boxers
you bought for my birthday, the hoodie you missed in my car.
You tell me that Texas isn’t really a desert, that bluebonnets
carpet the landscape in the spring, that maybe I could visit one day.
These are the words you don’t say: good-bye, breaking up,
love, why. These are the words I don’t say: stay, good-bye,
not him. You texted after touchdown, told me you arrived safe.
Told me to take care. I pictured Stetson hats, chaps, a new
lover driving you home. I knew I wouldn’t visit, and neither
would you, not even to get your last box of cookbooks
and candles, things too heavy to mail. I reply you too.
We could have a garden.
Keri Withington is an educator and poet who lives in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains. Her poetry has previously appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, recently including Blue Fifth Review, Feminine Inq., and The Basil O’Flaherty. Currently, her major interests include listening to science and history podcasts, eating Thai food, and researching pedagogical approaches to establishing equitable classrooms.