The blinds are drawn, 
my desk lamp dimmed 
as I sit down to write at 7 a.m.

A small speaker sits on the window sill
playing a song I haven’t heard in years
as the sadness finds its way back in.

I’ve been roaming around, always looking down at all I see. Painted faces fill the places I can’t reach.

Kings of Leon, Use Somebody

A subtle pressure builds in my cheeks;
a memory returning from the dead: of the
two of us on an ice and beer mission to Godwin’s.

I can’t think of you dead, so I push those thoughts away; but I don’t want to push away the glimmers of you that keep appearing to me, speaking from the great beyond.

“Hold on. Let this song finish,” you say.
But when I try to reply, all that forms
is a lump at the back of my throat;
an aching rawness seizing my voice.

And so I sit in silence, unable to speak
as the song fades and I watch you leave.
“I love you, old friend,” I finally say,
but you are already gone,
it is already too late.

My friend and cousin Gary

This photo is from a family vacation at Topsail a handful of years ago. Our kids, who are still young, were even younger then. Hence, the Finding Nemo sippy cup on Gary’s knee.

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated,, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.