When You Leave

The moon, modestly dressed in shadow,

has a dark side, but who wants to link

memories with the moon, with its long

history of love and lunacy so tightly tied

it’s hard to keep them very far apart,

their longing so strong, so determined

to satisfy their hunger whenever you

leave, dirty dishes still in the sink,

the bed unmade, the candle burnt down,

the empty couch holding your perfume,

clothes in the closet hanging like ghosts,

your final words crawling around the room.

In the dust of your departure, I gather

the moonlight combusting behind the door.

Ronald J. Pelias' work has appeared in over a hundred literary journals. His most recent books are If the Truth Be Told (Sense Publications), The Creative Qualitative Researcher (Routledge), and Lessons on Aging and Dying (Routledge, in press).