Billie R. Tadros

Postcards Left Unaddressed 



(Pictured: the upstairs window beneath the broken curtain rod.) 

In the backyard, fermented apples, so in the mornings sometimes 

I wake up and the neighbor’s dog is stumbling just inside the perimeter. 

(Fences don’t divide, they just outline.) 

I collected them all in a paper bag 

and now it’s all rot-bottomed-out, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that night 

you slept in your own vomit in the middle of the living room. 

It’s fall again. There’s mulled cider. 

I have your sweatshirt when you get cold. 



(Pictured: behind the empty fishbowl.) 

Your mom called last week to ask how I was and if I had heard from you. 

I told her, Seashells, so I think she thinks you’re at the beach 

because it was too hard to explain I can hear you dying 

if I press my ears against the apartment walls 

like they say you can hear the sound of the ocean. 



(Pictured: the stoop where you often smoked and carelessly tossed 

your cigarette butts into the neighbors’ garden.) 

The street flooded. Imagine the whole building out in the yard with pots 

and buckets trying to collect, like we were thirsty. And plunging for the rose 

bushes, like we could save the blooms, like they were holding their breath there 

under the water just waiting for our desperate garden-gloved hands. 

I want you to know I’m not expecting you to get better 

and that I threw out the dried flowers. I couldn’t take them anymore 

all upside down and hanging in the front closet and smelling 

like something I already knew was coming.



(Pictured: the vanity table missing its mirror.) 

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the gym since you left. 

I’ve never really been much for numbers or for that macho 

pissing-contest how-much-can-you-bench bullshit, but 

I realized the other day that I could lift the whole of your body 

and press it. 

So this is just to tell you that I cried openly 

and took the scale out of the women’s locker room 

and threw it in the dumpster outside. 



(Pictured: a shallow depression in the linens, your side of the bed.) 

I went to dinner with a new woman last night. Her body was like driving 

in a new city, a foreign grid. 

When I made love to you I often thought of coloring books, of the dark 

outlines of images, the shaded chambers of your ribs. 

From my window I watch the switchboard lights alternate and disappear, 

delicate circuitry, and you 

wrap yourself in your old college sweatshirt against the night of another 


grieving a quiet meteorology, like waiting for rain 

and ask how high the water is this time of year, where we were. 


Billie R. Tadros is a poet-scholar with research interests in feminist theory, gender and sexuality studies, and disability studies, who is currently working on a narrative research project exploring the gendered implications of traumatic injuries to self-identified women runners and seeking to articulate a feminist poetics of the injured female body. Find Billie at and on Twitter at @BillieRTadros.

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