Learning how to read things backwards
is only the first step in reading things backwards.
The second is learning that push means pull
when you see it on the other side of a glass door.
How my father says Drive safe & lookout
for deer because he’s afraid to say I love you.
How I say I love you to mean It’s time to
hang up the phone. You said I never notice
anything until it’s already gone—I was mad
about that the whole week you moved out.
Didn’t realize you took the lightbulbs until
after the sun went down. That the bowls
were yours till the pasta was already al dente.
When you picture me, don’t picture me
on the other end of the line stirring alone
in the glow of my phone. Don’t picture me
eating right from the pot, still soupy with
the once-boiled water. Just think of me here
pushing on the pull side of the first step
of getting good at your absence. Think of me
now with no way to get off this call.



Robert Wood Lynn