The Missing Pieces

He raises the missing half-inches: five incomplete fingers, an incomplete greeting.

I stare, wondering if I’ve finally cracked and shattered, if the shards carved him into the freezing air of my doorstep. I have half a mind to reach out, touch him, grab that coat by the lapels and tear him into the house, throw him to the steps like a rag doll and drag him to where he’ll never leave. The other half wants to shut the door.

So I stare.

I cannot remember the last time I saw him. His face is hard like granite, gently treated with a burin pick for his eyes, his lips. His hair is tar, the curls matted with oil and dust from days of neglected wash. His eyes are the color of a sky smeared with mud. A flash of memory: I see his face three years younger, three ashen countries divided by borders of tears. Now he is clear-faced, shadows buried deep in the eyes.