about the fireworks,
the sparks, the shooting stars.
"Did you feel it?" They ask,
vaguely expectant, eyebrows falling
back to their polite place when you
shake your head.
Lips and saliva, you scoff.
Random tongues. It's not the Fourth of July.
You fall asleep amidst the self-talk
and dream of meteors.
Then one night you look up
from behind your smudged glasses
to find him
staring back, past your iris
and down your spine, grabbing
hold of something warm,
and lips cling to each other
with a strangely perfect
and it's not like fireworks
at all, but rushing water, crashing
against your skin as you
search for breath,
and when the current pulls
you to the edge
of the waterfall
you press tighter
if you stand and close
your eyes you might feel
a chilly kiss brush across
your cheek and wet
your motionless lips
with yet unspoken sentences
you might hear the calm
of tomorrow's breath as she
whispers promises of
a certain sunrise
if you open your eyes
you might see the exquisite
chaos falling from a
if you stretch out your
hands you just might
catch a moment of bliss
in your empty palm before
it softly lands on
the powdered earth.
I used to think it exquisite.
Some beautiful power
weaving expert, impeccable knots.
But precision does not
No. Only a mirage
w a v e r i n g
at the slightest threat of indifference.
Find an anchor, then.
Wind it tightly
Let us grab hold
til our fingers go numb.
It cannot go slack.
don't let go
before I find my way
Sunlight floats across
the water in your eyes
you quickly blink to dry the landscape
but I already saw the first drops of rain
and you've never
been more beautiful.
Sometimes you talk in your sleep.
A startled shout or
of laughter and I
out of my latest dream
and into your
to catch a glimpse of these
nighttime companions but
back to silence
the moment i turn my head.
jersey sheets cascaded off the
bed but we never felt the cold
beside you like the august sun
every touch a blaze of insight
foreign heat tiptoed through
your hands and into mine as our bodies
curled away from apprehension
and into the warmth of each other
every moment without your breath
a black hole opened in space till
my lips found yours and we were back
made of nothing but sensation
my stomach shuddered with jolts
of exquisite surprise as your quiet
fingertips brushed softly over
waves of untouched terrain
in the curve of your arms I found
a substitute for emptiness
a cure for quiet and lonely dreams
in the rise and fall of your chest
what we might have had if you stayed
now only the sheets drape my skin
as I shiver in your tracks and
wait for august to come again
staggered in a circle
gold-encrusted poles bolted
to the rotating floor beneath our tired
hooves. Tomato sunburned children scramble
onto throbbing ashen backs, clutching at us with
sticky and and sugar-stained fingers. The first strains
of music echo through our chiseled manes, eerie melodies
impossible to forget after the last children slides off the saddle.
We begin to move, slowly at first, then
our garish painted faces,
air smelling of syrupy sweat and roasted meat.
Jeering shouts of vendors and cackling shrieks of riders
penetrate our ringing ears with grating force.
Reds and yellows and blues bleed together,
spattering our spiraled vision with
dizzying palettes of primary hue.
Relentless ghost-like tunes,
around and around as
we rise and fall
rise and fall.
your hand lingers warm
when we wake to translucent sky
drinking morning like champagne
voiceless questions melt with the darkness
perhaps yesterday listened.
We prepare to push off, you and I, tightly
bundled against the chilly wind. You stop
to shake snow from your furry-lined shoes
(you should have brought boots), and my
lenses fog from our breath, the frames
askew. I climb in front, tentative, winding
my scarf once more across my face.
The sled tips as you squeeze behind,
feet sneaking through my arms and across
my lap. The plastic starts to move beneath
us and I'm not ready but we're going,
we're soaring, (I wish I could see your
expression), across the slippery cold,
and my breath is gone somewhere
in the drift and we're flying but
you're there and then the world stops
moving. I'm covered in white as I wipe
the wetness from my cheek and I hear
laughter so I turn to look at your smile.
It is then that my breath finds its way
back and I realize it's me who is laughing.
She cannot open the morning
paper without the blackened number
distracting her resistant vision;
higher every day, how
many will it be this time? How many
fathers, mothers, sons, daughters tremble
beneath their futile camouflage, nightmares
unfolding across vacant eyes
and salt-frosted eyelashes? She cradles
a cup of steaming coffee between
her unstained fingers, new wedding
band tapping the hard ceramic. Imagines
his, pressed into calloused skin that hasn't
touched hers in months, too preoccupied
with learning the art form of enforced regret.
At night she stares at the ceiling, welcoming
insomnia, too afraid of what sleep
might bring. Her photograph lies folded against
his chest, thousands of miles away from
the empty side of the bed; sometimes
she forgets in the heat of a dream and turns,
greeted silently by the unwrinkled pillow and
faint smell of his favorite shampoo.