These things are true and sad. A painter used to live here. Lives here still but it is complicated. Tonight I am alone but for the flowers the painter left for me to discover in the kitchen, the living room, my office, the bathroom. The years we were together the painter thought I did not like flowers. I am unsure why the painter ever came to this conclusion. In this month after our breakup we have learned so much about each other. We are like new people. Tonight the painter is in Philadelphia. Tomorrow the painter will be in New Jersey. There will be a show. Tonight I am at my desk where I will write for the first time in many months while listening to James Blake. I will drink seltzer water and check my phone. I will smoke cigarettes in the rain. Unable to sleep, I will try to read. I will sit uncomfortably while my fingers remember what it feels like to touch these keys. I will trim my nails because it is difficult to type when they are too long. When I do not write, my nails grow long. My nails are a reminder of difficult times. My fingers worry over their own disuse. My hands do not know what to do. My wrists feel tight. My forearms rest heavy. My elbows are bony knobs on this desk. My shoulders hunch. My neck hurts. My throat hurts. My eyes hurt. I read these words and yet I continue to write. I go on writing because what else is there to do but remember this poem about a painter, his flowers, and what used to be his walls.

Molly Gaudry is the author of We Take Me Apart, which was nominated for the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. Her website is

My House is Filled with Flowers. The Walls are Bare.
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