“When You Go Away,” by Sally Kinsolving from David and Bath-sheba (1922)


When You Go Away

When you go away
Then I enter your room,
And suddenly
A faint and lingering scent
Of cigarettes
Stabs me,
Like the perfume of bruised violets
In the quiet gloom
Of twilight, and I begin to look
Around me and I see
A book
That is open on its face
In the place
Where you laid it.
And I find ashes still scattered on the floor.
And my heart beats faster when I remember
That before you left
I loved to kneel and brush them out of the way.
Because I knew that you had spilled them
And would spill more. . . .
And then I look into the mirror until it seems
As empty as a house of dreams.
Or the white-pillowed bed where recently you lay,
And I shut the door
Quietly —
And go away.

from David and Bath-sheba, and other poems, by Sally Kinsolving
Baltimore: The Norman, Remington Company, 1922

Available on the Internet Archive Link.

This is one of a series of neglected poems taken from the Internet Archive.

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