Alex Harper

Then one morning her side of the bed is empty.
You check the bathroom, kitchen,
sitting room — nobody. Her shoes are gone,
and coat. You stare out of the window
with your thick and cooling coffee.

You know she left a note for you
in your dreams, last night.
The explanation’s there, with love,
but all you can remember
is a fractured mix of sadness, music,
memories and television,
and when you try to match their jigsaw edges
they don’t fit,
you’re missing too much of the picture.

So now when you’re not sleeping
you prowl the carpets
all day, all week, all month, all year,
all decade if you have to,
resorting to numerology
and wild bargains with God,
worrying the neighbours.

The worst is knowing that you knew that night
before you woke,
and now you have only faith
that one morning you will wake and she’ll be back
exactly as she said,
her breath, her wings, her song again,
her shoes, her coat.


Alex Harper’s poetry has appeared in Mirror Dance, Not One of Us and The Interpreter’s House, among others. His poem “The Hero’s Journey” appeared in issue 4 of Liminality. He lives in England, and can be found online at and on Twitter as @harpertext.