(Four-for-one today, because I have been Presently Absent or Absently Present or.... well...Missing...and I may come up Missing again. Anyone who actually listens to all four gets a cookie...and my undying....umm...curiosity? Awe? Stupefaction?) Missing, part 1 How many times did you wake up in the night, find an empty cup and wonder where your mind used to be, your self alone and just you in the bed, and just the one bed with unfamiliar sheets, your head on a strangely scented pillow? I would have brought her there, you know, for you to hold, and not for me. You needed her more. I can see that now. I would have stood close by, just a ways, and averted my gaze; let you have your time alone as I tried not to turn to stone. Missing, part 2 I wonder--did those strange scents jar your memories and dreams toward unseen collisions with silence, that wrong kind of quiet made dense with soft specific sounds that spell a place far deeper than our well- used alphabet of ancient objects? Our limbic world just disconnects over time. Our temporal selves get disheveled. Cerebral shelves do not suffice any more. We strive to hold things in place, but see only place-holders and when age eats worlds, the words fall off the page. Missing, part 3 Do you feel the rain where you are? Is there water there in the far reaches of memory? Does time fall through the air, like brittle rime crusting the sea? Is this weather? Tenuous shifts of the tethers that tie us, each to our own place? I stand in the rain, raise my face to the falling sky as my sight becomes a part of the pale light that is left to us, and wonder how we can all be so sundered and still hold together all this madness, beauty and darkness. Missing, part 4 Are your words still with you? Did you carry your stories deep into the night and leave them like luggage on a railway platform, an age and more down silver tracks, with just the wind, the stars, and leaves like dust blowing and hissing in the dark? This silence leaves a fading mark. The thing that took you left your face in bodies unknown to you, lace filaments tracing what the eyes of others cannot see: the ties that generation takes away; the look in eyes that cannot stay.