Hardscrabble Shrine

It’s the point in pandemic where
we take stock of the lives we
find ourselves alone in
stockpile goods and memories
pantries of staples and
stapled photos around mirrors frame
lock stock and
of wine consumed or
whiskey straight up
I’ve built a hardscrabble shrine
to everything I love and have
your name emblazoned on the candle marked "youth"
and again
on one titled “yesterday”
because the best loves in life are seldom lost
only once

when the sun sets and the streets are
just as lonely as they were
before dinnertime
I go outside and stare up
at the nothing
your name on my lips
dry from not speaking
dry from too much screaming
dry since the last time you
watered the soil of the
hardscrabble love we planted
laid seed and daily
tended with both hands
wrote love letters across the dining room table
and delivered them
across navels and
down the back of your spine
whispered graffiti across bodies
lit a candle called youth
lit a candle called yesterday

a shrine and a reminder
the best loves in life are seldom lost
only once