I saw a picture of you last night
and now I can’t get you out of my head.
You’re still the same green-grey eyes,
the crooked smile, the hair falling
in your face like you haven’t combed since I left.
Maybe no one’s there to brush anymore, no one
to pull your hair back, run their fingers
through the curls, kiss
the tender baby hairs at your temple.
When I saw the picture, I heard your voice,
the way you used to know what I was thinking
by the way my eyebrows furrowed
or the unconscious bite of my lip.
The tendencies I never noticed, even in myself.
My mother always told me you looked different
in every photograph—as if she could see your transformation
before the changes even began. As if she knew
who you’d become.
That you’d run.
But she never imagined I’d be the one
to leave. That I was the one in the photographs
shifting with every frame.
I called you last night. Because I saw the picture,
because I wanted to know if your voice still sounded
like Saturday mornings with closed blinds,
an old truck with the windows down on the highway
in the sticky-hot Western sun. Yes, you did.
Your voice brought me to all the places I’d been searching for,
all the places I’d been pretending not to miss.
You’re still the green-grey eyes, the laugh
that warms me. You’re still the unbrushed hair.
And I promise I’ll run my fingers through the tangles.
Promise I’ll kiss every lonely strand,
every broken follicle.
Until you can taste the forever on my lips.