Kim Addonizio

Leaving Song

Good-bye to how you’d curl away in sleep,
one hand to your forehead, doing the hard work
of dreaming; and to the early dark,
you on the bed’s edge, pulling on your shoes,
the quick kiss before you joined the others
sealed into cars along the highway,
going away all day and coming back
to set the paper bag beside the sink
and pour the first drink, and the next, the ones
after that; good-bye to your drunkenness,
which I admit I liked because of how
you’d cry sometimes, or follow me from room
to room, naked, dripping from a bath,
able to say what you couldn’t, sober.
Love, I’m going.  Line up the drained bottles,
audience for your beloved Schumann
pounded out at the piano, the rhythms awkward,
the wrong notes repeating… Good-bye, this
is the leaving song, it’s almost over.
I used to lie awake and hold you as you slept;
when you snored I smoothed the fine hair
on your head, and watched your lovely face
and wished you someone else, who even
in the lamplight, and the smoke-thick air
from your constant cigarettes, never would appear.

(c) 2000 by Kim Addonizio
All rights reserved

Included in the Crisis Chronicles Library
with Kim Addonizio’s permission

We gratefully acknowledge BOA Editions, Ltd,
publishers of Kim Addonizio’s
Tell Me (2000),
where this poem originally appeared

Here’s a biography borrowed from her official website,

Kim Addonizio is the author of three books of poetry from BOA Editions: The Philosopher’s Club, Jimmy & Rita, and Tell Me, which was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award. Her latest collection, What Is This Thing Called Love, was published by W.W. Norton in January 2004. A book of stories, In the Box Called Pleasure, was published by Fiction Collective 2. She is also co-author, with Dorianne Laux, of The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton). With Cheryl Dumesnil she co-edited Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos (Warner Books). Her first novel, Little Beauties, was published by Simon & Schuster in August 2005 and came out in paperback in July 06. Her new novel, My Dreams Out in the Street, has just been published by Simon & Schuster (July 07). She also has a word/music CD with poet Susan Browne, “Swearing, Smoking, Drinking, & Kissing,” available from cdbaby. Her awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship,a Pushcart Prize, a Commonwealth Club Poetry Medal, and the John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award.

Please check out these fine volumes of Kim Addonizio’s poetry and prose: