With Or Without You

With Or Without You

With Or Without You 1920 953 Jeanna Paden

I remember the way February looks after midnight—
jigsaw lines of houses, small front yards
the rain crawling along the ground, turning to ice
speaking blacktop cracks into existence.

I remember your fingers crawling down my palm
until we meshed together
an empty driveway
crabgrass stretching long limbs across the sidewalk
the hem of my shirt brushing the skin of my upper arm
like a child staying close to remind me she’s there.

I remember lights burning above us
like spirits that couldn’t part with our bodies
the persistence of the night
how my eyes begged me to close them
how I let them for a long moment when you kissed me goodnight
the echo, text me that you made it home safe
rolling the window down to feel the cold.

I remember the bass drum
how it still pulls on the walls of my gut
with or without you
the rain and the cold air and the dark clouded sky
how we began to grow fuzzy
but still, more permanent as time barreled forward.

Header photograph © Jason D. Ramsey.

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