The first thing I noticed

The first thing I noticed
When I walked in the door
Was that something had changed:
There wasn’t a pile of dirty dishes in the sink
There weren’t dirty socks and sweaters and scarves
Discarded and thrown about
I thought “This is odd”
But I couldn’t pinpoint the cause
All this in a few moments, a few moments passed
When I couldn’t hear the blare of the television
Or smell the pungent odor of Marlboros
I knew something was awry.
“Perhaps a cool refreshing drink
Will help me to sort this out.”
I said aloud
Upon opening the cupboard I was astonished
Not a cup, mug, stein or glass to be found
No microwave, no toaster, that old eccentric pair
No cutlery, no pots and pans, no plates or gravy boat
My mind began floating, reeling, a touch of vertigo
I ran outside to check the numbers on the door:
1457 Apartment 4
I ran down the block, to check the street sign
Sure enough, Cherry Lane
Had I gone mad? Was I dreaming?
My mind now restless, I became a man possessed
Running back inside the flat, breathless
I called the cat: “Peanut! Peanut! Dinnertime!”
No response, no excited mewl, no clomping footsteps
In fact, checking the pantry, there was no cat food
No kibbles, no meat, no vittles, no treats.
I went exploring through the house
I found each room bare
Except for the last few squares of toilet paper on the roll,
And the radio was there.
It finally sunk in, that I’d been wrong
I hadn’t gone mad, this wasn’t a dream
The simple fact was

You were gone.

So sudden this departure
Leaving not a trace
Not one fashion magazine
Not one long blond curly hair
In the bathtub or the sink
No trace of your perfume
Not one stick of that gum you liked to chew
No bobby pin, no shower cap
Nothing at all to remind me of you
The photo albums we’d filled up
With smiles and tears and trying times
Had also vanished in thin air
So rapidly did you abscond
A magician with a disappearing act
For goodness sake
I’d only gone to corner store
For skim milk and a pack
If I hadn’t tarried
And stopped to read the paper
Talked with Mr. Popagus
The local grocer man
Sat a moment at the café
With an expresso or two
To watch the girls pass by
In their summer gear
Maybe you’d still be here

I turned on the radio
(as it was the only thing I had left)
Found it tuned to your favorite station
I heard the following dedication:
“This next one
Goes out to Dear Old John
On our anniversary.
Sorry I couldn’t stick around
But like the tide so I must one day go
Swim back out to the sea”

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