Drinking highball from

an aluminum can and smoking 

a cigarette on my balcony. 

The lights on in windows holding hands with the night. 


The plants I grew last spring are dead in the plastic pots 

purchased from a dollar store. 

I finish my cigarette and a little while later the drink too.

Go inside and look in 

at my daughters sleeping 

in their beds. Pull the covers up because I don’t want them to be cold and because it feels like something a father should do. 

Go into the living room and sit down. Something infests the silence here recently that I have come to fear. I play a record quietly for a little while. Watching it go around on the turntable reflecting jagged white lines of light. 

Go and open another can, 

sitting at the dining table, 

feeling in my fingertips and 

knowing my own face  

I can’t bring you back  

no more than I can 

bring the dead 

plants on my balcony 

back to life. 

Stephen J. Golds was born in London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. His novels are  Say Goodbye When I’m Gone (Red Dog Press), Always the Dead (Close to the Bone), Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows and the story and poetry collection Love Like Bleeding Out With an Empty Gun in Your Hand. He is also current Poetry Editor of Close to the Bone @scatterofashes.  Find him on Twitter @SteveGone58

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