she’s gone
off to school
high-ponytail flapping
only a few bites taken out of her egg,
sunny-side up, with a soft yolk,
and buttered zucchini bread,
slightly sweet
scented with cinnamon and clove

she’s gone
but I managed to place a soft kiss
on her forehead in the dim early light
her usual impulse to sharply pull away disabled
by her teenaged dreams and tangled sheets
my happiness only corroded slightly
by the feeling that I had taken something
that wasn’t mine

she’s gone
mostly cloistered in her room
cell-phone in one hand
open lap-top teetering on the single bed
covered with a white comforter
which is strewn with dark cat hair
last evening I went to visit her there
I longed to hold her
let my hands and arms sink into firm flesh
breathe in her changing smell
cover her face and neck with kisses like I used to
but I didn’t
and spent the whole night suffering from an ache
in the bones and flesh behind my heart
that could not be cured
by too much creamy vanilla ice cream
with small chocolate chunks
that crackled between my teeth