When You Were Gone
by Denise Lichtig

Nothing stopped, not the rain, not the moon.
The zodiac turned into a mud picture because the clouds came.
The forecast was for the trees to nearly break.
The hammock was for children only and only the runaways
I’d left both sneakers in the office
and ran home anyway.
At Macy’s they were selling cashmere as a scent
and dungarees had tags.
There was actually a picture in national geographic
of a mannequin being healed with oils and herbs
right from the aboriginal kitchen,
which to say was their own dirt path.
And better a dirt path than all this
paraphernalia of forgetting.
If it were a marsh we’d sink
but hard pan we could breathe and long for water.
The poor see god differently, their death isn’t ridiculous.
When there were birthdays, the immigrant’s twins served
cakes floating alongside bells and candles.
She was waiting for papers and
had to lay low.
We paid her a fine tip
we were an easy white,
the color of flour and stitches.
The small bleed that came on cheek
was a misdemeanor that went away
along with the drinks and steri-strips.
What small death happened at the top corner
of the pediatrician’s office became all nitro and smile
he had love in his eyes.
If I had to die to prove it then I’d be a Jesus
like the plastic one on the dashboard singing slow down
it’s not too late, if I didn’t belong to anyone then
why was I worried now.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 4.

Denise-LichtigDenise Lichtig practices Chinese Medicine and acupuncture in Davis, Calif. She owns a small Tai Chi Chuan school and currently volunteers at REAL POETS, a non-profit organization that helps high risk youth write poetry. Her chapbook Crystal Gods was published in 2013 having won the Quinton Duval chapbook contest.

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