Disaster Preparedness

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.
~Joan Didion

I almost lost my husband, somewhere
between here and home. It’s like I put
him in my pocket without realizing
there was a hole in the stitching. Really
he could be anywhere. I retread my steps,
scanning the ground left to right until
my vision blurred and I thought maybe
I was crying but instead I was tired.

It’s been hours but maybe days since
I last held his hand in my hand. Since
then I’ve bought a condo, a Mini, hired
a nanny. I’ve pre-paid a dog walker
so I’m never in demand. I’ve got people
aplenty, and I’m certain with enough
money we will be all right. It’s funny
now I am without him, it’s like he
was never here. So when I found him
waiting at the corner–we were to meet
here at half-past five!–I’m not sure
what to do with a husband. I’d gotten
accustomed to being a widow if only
for a moment or two. The abandonment
felt like a gust rushing the open door,
scattering my plans like stacked papers
turned to airplanes, to confetti.
The shock of cold air ran sharp along
my future and swept it clean.

But soon I shivered, wanting to lay down
behind him, pull up my shins against
his back, stoke the ember near-dormant between
the half-shells of our old bodies. I return
my purchases–no warranty for wishes–
and hand him the keys to our house
where I keep the needle and the thread.

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