Absence is the very sense
I fear and I feel nothing like it
Cloying, meandering, like drizzle
It sticks stubbornly to my skin.

Absence is the sense of not knowing
Undefeated, my imagination swoops
Over the landscape brimming with
What might have beens.

Absence is the child crying out in the night
Wanting and needing what it has not
Yet learnt to define, only it wants and it needs
As if wanting and needing were the reason it breathes.

Absence is the keening of a dying dog
Bitter and harsh and brutal
It stabs at you in the heart, reminds you that you
Are brittle, fragile, you try to stand tall and yet
Your existence is built on the life of another.

He is absent although he stands in front of me
A memento for what might have been
I painted worlds for him and I to inhabit
And yet he drifted away, fog at dawn,
I clutch onto him still, his presence empty air,
He will not, does not, acknowledge me
As if I am the spectre, the forgotten shadow,
The unwelcome guest at the banquet.

Absence makes the heart grow brutal
Absence makes the heart want
Absence makes the heart seedy and vengeful
As I dream of what might have been, lost
Down labyrinths of my own creation
I can’t even mould him the way I want him
In my dreams, damning, drowning obsession,
Made absent by my words, I only have
Myself to blame, and mourn.


Rose Staveley-Wadham