I take the same and different ways returning to these streets I thought I knew. Scent memories come in warm layers, comforting until they cling, and I think too long about the shadows stretching behind, before the city lights became so familiar, but clarity depends on distance, on when in motion the lines converge and the shapes fade to almost nothing, only to merge and re-emerge with each step forward, back to you.
A pulsating longevity awaits in the longing hours. Tick. Tick. A sulphurous coverlet crawls up to my neck. Tick. Tick. It’s dark at the windows; it claws at my throat. Tick. Tick. Someone, come save me – I can’t breathe; I can’t cope.
The layers peel back, constellations on show – I sit with this pain while it grabs its dark coat On closer perusal, a face lingers close Broken, ugly, no joy does it show
It takes my limp hand in a gentle caress – calloused, hardened, its gaze set on my chest
“Dear girl”, it does say, as the tears linger close, “your being in this world hasn’t quite found its home” I grasp at this hand I don’t quite understand – it coaxes me forward in a promising demand.
“Make friends with this darkness – feel how it chokes. It has a message to share underneath its black cloak”
Trepid, shaken, I follow its lead The cracks shatter open and all is revealed.