After You Left


by Melissa Studdard

My mind was a stable with no horses.
I walked round and around inside it

gathering up the silence like hay.

There were things I began to wonder,
like, who am I & how do you bury

the body of a day that you forgot to live.

I looked under a stack of magazines
but my life was no longer where I’d left it,

and no one I called had seen it for weeks. I

searched the thin rims of Bordeaux glasses
and murky bottoms of Xanax bottles.

I dredged the belly of my refrigerator

and played and replayed the final scenes
of tragic movies, searching for a new ending.

And when I saw a cheerful woman crossing

a street, I yelled, Hey, Give me back
my life. But she kept walking. For, who

among us wants to give up what we’ve

found? Let me hoard even the sorrow that has
wandered in from the rain like a stray dog. Let

me hold the ancient hungers welled up inside her.


About the Author:

Melissa Studdard is the author of four books, including the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast and the bestselling young adult novel Six Weeks to Yehidah. Her short writings have appeared in a wide variety of journals, magazines, blogs, and anthologies, such as Psychology Today, The Guardian, Southern Humanities Review, Harvard Review, Bettering American Poetry and Poets & Writers.