I took the dog for a walk before bed, the day’s heat having kept us in. This happens as we both grow old. About half-way through, the wind shifted and lifted, clouds began to hide the full moon and ocean of stars, all this joined by a quick drop in the temperature. Later, snug under a blanket, I woke to listen to rain on the roof, thunder through the walls, like I did so long ago as a child. In the morning, the ground was still dry and cracked. Now I wonder if storms, in dying, leave behind spirits to revisit us.
I woke to some sound an hour or so before the first, false dawn, some mix of tears falling and lips parting in a smile. There was a woman — you — sitting faintly on the side of the bed I always leave empty. Frozen in time, the contours of your face blended with the darkness of the room and the bleakness of my missing you. The sounds came not from you, but from my dreams. In the morning, any evidence of this outside my heart was gone like last week’s spectral storm.
Working in the woods, clearing deadfall to dry and burn come late Autumn, trying to clear the past from my head with no success, I find myself talking with you, asking how things are on the other side, beckoning answers for the sound of your voice, the breath of your whisper in my ear. The closest reply is a ghostly smell of cigarette smoke among the trees, perhaps carried on the wind, perhaps remembered, maybe a sign that you’ve been listening.