I miss the taste of the milk you warmed up,

Which cradled me to sleep — honeyed and full-fat —

Then when your hugs did not grate my heart. 


The smell of coffee stains in your empty cup,

And the force — of your familiar grip and pat,

Then when these held up the roof over “home” —


The wide expanse — of your desk — the art, 

The clamps and the maps never to be close-up —

Then when love was safety — awe — not combat. 


The hot metal of a tank in the desert, 

Fingers — burning — photos that roam, 

Then when memories did not hit like shells. 


Then, the milk — now it burns the tongue — like Rome,

And phones ring with country codes like chiming bells. 


Then when, 

Then when, 

then when. 


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