I measure your absence in degrees Fahrenheit, in feet of snow, in inches of ice. Come spring, when the world has thawed and the sun has crept into every shadow, I will measure my freedom in lilac blossoms and deep, unfettered breaths.
Some stories come gently, drifting in and settling on the page. Others stories fight the telling. Tooth and claw, they snarl and bite. I wrestled a wolverine into a cage and left it on your doorstep. I dare you to open it.
Small things add up. They tip the scales no matter how light. Smiles on tiny squares of paper, air in my tires. Kisses tossed from the top of the porch steps. All I can give in return are words and golden promises.
The universe expanded and contracted. Stars were born; stars died. Entire civilizations rose and fell and rose, golden ages giving way to silver and silver to their own slow inevitable decline. All in the few short seconds since your lips left mine.
She said it again this morning; she tells me every day. “I don’t know why you bother. Nothing will come of it.” And every day I push back. Reach for one more minute, one more word. Someday I will shut her up.