behind the perpetually empty lot is the old schoolyard, abandoned to the woods in my grandparents’ day. I came across you on the rusty swing set, you voice twining with their metallic screech in a gentle cacophony. my momma whispered caution into my childhood tales, so as easy as two and two being four, you ask for my name and I tell you to call me lovely. you bare your teeth. is it a smile? is it a threat? is the difference between the two significant in the slightest?
as we walk down the moss-carpeted forest path you slip your hand into my back pocket, light as chalk dust seen only in sunlight falling through a half-open window —a specter’s shadow, a half-forgotten dream.
our feet sink into the ground, stepping out of the trees. cloud shadows cut across the dappled starlit moore, unraveling its whistling melody sung in no tongue known to mankind. you warn me not to follow it, breath ghosting along my cheek. I have staked a claim, my lovely, you tell me. and I protect what is mine.
you tell me, ask no questions, receive no hurtful truths that cut deeper than the half-sweet lies you were taught to expect. Your face as you say this is a pane of glass, flat and transparent; your tears are the rain, uncaring outside of an expected cycle, though acidic through human contact. the sunset’s echo rings between us —us, the immortal and the ever dying.
oh lovely, my lovely, you whisper under glowing moon and winking stars, with desks dragged through rotted doors and upended behind our backs. near every creature has teeth. it’s human hands that are truly weapons of destruction, but look at how your fingers fit so neatly between mine.
I whisper back, the sins of your ancestors are not your fault, but they are your responsibility. your duty, but not your legacy.
you hum, thoughtful, and grin, eyes flashing. in shared silence we lean back against the desks and smile at the moon. somewhere in the back of my mind I’d like to think he smiles back.