Absence Makes the Heart

My son has not yet found a reason to love
or hate the silence following us around
the house. All he knows: something
palpable is missing, not yet profound, not
yet painting nightmares over his sleep,
just a steady lack of arms where arms
should be. The hundred nightingales
trapped in my chest are chattering all at
once. I don’t know which to speak from,
if any voice is true, & if I’d recognize
it. My face tries to shift confidently
among the faces he expects to see over
his cradle at night. I press his ear to the
floorboards’ groans & say this is the house
settling beneath us
. I say memory is simply
an attempt to record what matters
. Then I
say nothing really matters anymore. & the
birds hush. & the house. & he is finding
his reason; I hope it’s love, & I hate that I
have loved so much.