What makes this absence?

What makes this absence in the air?
Is it that empty bathroom shelf
and unmade bed?
Or this abandoned bookcase, still bent
from vanished books?

A placemat less; one fewer pair of shoes
beside the door. No small pink coat
or unexpected cuddly toy;
unopened mail and midnight showers.
Less background noise, less easy warmth;
no arguments about PCs
nor endless distance calls.

A gap in every conversation –
questions unasked and jokes uncracked.
Plans unmade (or worse – unshared,
unknown, unasked).

No singing in the hall; no mock-hurt
stares; no tellings off; no call for lifts –
an excess too of time and space –
now all for what,
without those unassuming smiles and hugs?

A final emptying of need, that
like a summer out of time
faded slowly to this point:
a smiling figure at the gate,
anticipating rites of spring;
half-turning, with her bag,
she waves.


My daughter announced she was leaving home last weekend, and off she went.

Posted on d’Verse Open Link night