I am not supposed to miss you,
missing having to do with a concept
of presence and absence
that we are not trafficking in—
not being present
in the moment, a crime
which one could accuse
me of with hatpins in my eyes.
But more seductively, in the hope
of pulling you in, and there to form a space
outside of spaces, I would argue it is longing
and not missing that I feel.
Longing is a sweet word and means
even here, now, I am very
much present—oh yes there
is the taste of lemon and beer
in my mouth I am present with,
and the three girls, one kneeling,
looking into the display case at
the pastries in the cafe. They shake their heads
and go somewhere else. I am sorry that
the café could not please them.
A motorcycle helmet is in front of me,
and the man who goes with it
got nervous just now because I tried
to read the title of the book he was reading.
There, now I see it Love and Awakening,
That is something to hide. A man comes in
trying to sell a typewriter. Saying, Any students here?
I got a good typewriter here, a Westing.
All of this is proof that I am very much
here in the moment in this café.
And still I feel something tug on me
as I am pulled towards your absence.
To be emptier than the moon on a clear night,
when you think you can see the insides.
The shapes and cravings. To be empty of you,
like a shoebox that I can't find any trace of, where
is the shoe? What gouged out eyes, what sockets
where there was something? The night
is playing a trick on me where it takes off in a car
for a long drive on highways and doesn't know
where it is going. It is traveling fast away from me
with no destination, focused on the lines, the lights.
Some crave for you and take everything away to have you.
But you are not for me, you cut me out.
Jenny Bitner has been published in Corium, Fence, Mississippi Review, PANK, and The Sun. She is also the author of the chapbook Mother (Pine Press).
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