Monday 9/25/2006 12:05:00 AM

The phone rang and he wasn't there. Wrinkled trench coat left in the closet too long. Raindrops staining the length of both sleeves. In some crazy pattern that seemed to say the maps we were using were wrong.

I was never trying to get there. Just wanted to see what it looked like.

I put the receiver back and counted the seconds. As silence compounded into separation. It wouldn't ring again. Wouldn't do anything other than stare at my decision. As it pooled like pudding under the thin crust of my resolve.

It was never wrong enough to be worth saving. But there was some small comfort in how well the grief fit the contours of my moods.

The phone would ring and I'd listen to him talk about football and brothers and women. Like I wasn't there. Until every word seemed a parody of the person I had thought I wanted.

He never changed himself. But he made me so different. I don't know how to to tell him it doesn't hurt anymore.

Frantic grains of sand clinging to my fingers as I break open the waist on that thoughtless hourglass.

All that time spilling through our thighs as we try to decide which ones to save.

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