Before I Forget

Jill Strehl
2 min readJun 16, 2021

Before I forget

what he looks like walking past me, shoulders hunched

Wearing the blue-gray jacket, ill-fitting, his

Silver grey hair cut too short again, makes him look like

A Young Republican 63 next month.

His body moving past says he sees me sitting on this bench just

Feet away. Courthouse door flies open and he is there and gone, turn right

And down the sidewalk like we never existed.

If I wait too long, one more

Second and he is gone, down the sidewalk so I leap to my feet, nobody

Sees me stand at the edge, looking at his back, his over-size, battered

leather case left hand,

what’s in that - why bring it to a mediation hearing what does he have in it, his oil paints from home? Right hand clutching a plastic bag too small for a homeless man, but he’s

not homeless, he is in our home, he gets to keep our home it was my home not now

not ever.

Favorite khakis bunch at large backside, walk away, moving quicker now, look and cross and look again, not at me I was never here.

Will you feel my eyes and look back 25 years we were young and childless and hooked up then married when she was on the way:

his one good thing.

Hair not as gray. She was tiny as he cradled they both slept folding couch so I could sleep, but I woke up. I existed then, in that hospital room where we were three of us, we existed for each other. Don’t go home where she’ll grow up, we grow up, everything goes fast now and then she dances beautifully away to her life. Millennial girl, looks like your mother, doesn’t she?

Left to live a life apart as we dance away from each other alone in the same room where I do not exist.

There is you and there he goes away from me, but look just one last time, this is forever away, home

where we don’t exist.


Jill Strehl

"We turn on each other for what we are not. I fear that more than the empty room." -J