Fingers and Toes

by Charlotte Hamrick

I missed you only once,
when the kettle boiled
and I burned my finger
in the steam, you weren't there
to get an ice cube
or pour my cup of tea.

The empty space is crowded.

It's a lie I tell myself,
not in the dead of night,
but in the bright white glare
of every day since you left.
Your empty shoes sit by the back door
waiting for the snugness of your toes.
I've come to realize you walk a trail now
I might never find.

The empty space is crowded.

When I walk the back garden
where the palm trees whisper your name,
the gardenia still blooms from your care,
and the old fence is straight and strong,
stretching skyward,
I feel your touch in every corner.

The empty space is crowded.