i trace your face with this pencil tip
and every time i miss your lips:

the line of your jaw as you set your mind
on an ideal that you could never find

in a house as once upon a time
as mine. i trace your face;

i get it wrong. i look for you
and find sad songs amongst

my shoes, in my garage,
behind the cans that line the cupboard

mass-produced and stained incarnadine. i find
quotations in the oddest places:

snapshots of strangers writing books
that slow-dissolve at the opening line.

i erase my mind but still
the blank tape signifies, a simple hiss of absence

a white noise kiss that never lands
like hands that tilt

towards a face they cannot touch
so only trace in faulty lines

a set of signs that point towards the house
of once-upon-a-time,

the for sale sign, the windows hollow
like my tired eyes.

Tom Shea

Tom is a poet, occasional novelist, musician, and creative writing teacher. He lives, works and writes in Hamilton, Ontario with his wife, his two wildly kinetic children, a part-time cat, and a selection of left-handed guitars. His self-published books of poetry are titled "Object Permanence" and "Closer to the Sky." His band is called Trio Arjento. His blog is

Last updated May 23, 2011