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For my wife, Ohnmar Thein Karlin, 9/29/1950 - 2/28/2020 Clothes that touched your skin cling for a desperate second on the metal maw of the donation bin, tumble into darkness But when I come home you return with me, awakened in a saffron spill of light on the kitchen counter The wood molding splintered by the turn of a wheel-chair at the bathroom door. The medicine cabinet opening to an audience of empty pill bottles their faint rattle a mockery of applause. The tight hollow of silence in the bedroom, in the chest, in the narrow of the throat. Because you are not here you are always here Because you will never be here you are always here. ---- Copyright 2022 Wayne Karlin Wayne Karlin is the author of eight novels and three non-fiction books. His awards include The Paterson Prize in Fiction, The Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award, and the Juniper Prize in Fiction. His short fiction collection, Memorial Days, will be published by Texas Tech University Press in Spring, 2023.