Ashley

The night drew its curtain deep over the world, soft and quiet. Its lonely ashen shimmer like a whisper retreating. And all alone, a small girl sitting in the crescent of the moon, toes dipped in that endless puddle, rain boots dancing. She wore a white raincoat, bucket hat, and boots. Strapped to her back was a small black and white striped parasol umbrella, the name Ashley stitched into the hemming.
She sat there humming Claire de Lune, moonlight gliding from each note, swaying with the lunar dust. In that moment—a moment she could not herself explain—a tear began to swell. It wasn’t sadness or happiness, but it was from the heart: a dormant heart and innocent. The tear fell swiftly from her cheek, and though she reached to catch it, it fell through her fingers into that vast ocean beneath her feet.
It was then she felt it in her chest: that feeling of leaving home for the first time—both wonderful and terrifying. She just didn’t know what for, but maybe, she thought, her tear did. Without another thought, she dived head first into that breathless embrace, courage trailing at her heels. She could see the tear falling still, reaching for the sun. She knew she had to reach it, if only to look inside for a moment. She turned her head back towards her feet, puffed up what little air left she had in her lungs, and exhaled, propelling her forward.
She reached the tear just before it vanished for the sun. She looked in its reflection, and saw a woman smiling, waving goodbye with soft hands. The woman blew a kiss, eyes searching the way a mother’s might watching her child leave for the first day of school. They were eyes that would linger long after everyone else’s had turned away, but in them something so afraid. The tear vanished, and with it the image.
The sun was close now. The umbrella rattled on her back, and burst open like a sail. It veered her course far left, swinging her around the sun, and launching her towards Earth once more. In the commotion, the umbrella fell from her back. It was drifting now, again towards the sun, but she could not stop it this time. She knew she had to let it go, the word Ashley shimmering like a star in all that lonely night.
Falling back to Earth, the day had just arrived, reclaiming what it had lost. Reclaiming what it had lost.

Matador

Take me
sinking, leather bottles
hand to hand, white heat,
on a road to Barcelona.

Paint my hands, blade, and flag
with the lust of a matador.
Give life to the dust
with my heel—

hear it dripping:
bullpen, mad snout,
hooves carving
runways in the earth.

This is sickness or it is love:
wound of forgotten nights
Hemingway dreamed once
before a melting sun—

And the still beating heart
of those wistful nights in love,
too close
to end in steel.

Mirrors

Mirrors could not bring us close enough,
hands reaching at the water’s edge
suspended like a thread contoured
to your trembling lips.

Resemblance is not touch;
it is not hearing the current swell,
breaking distance,
fingers left to dance.

It is resignation:
the kind that waves,
that walks until the vanish,
and turns with its dawning eyes
to say

we are
we were once before

remember the nights
the way we questioned
how beautiful it was
to dream without sleeping
and where it all goes
when that border is crossed

We are there now
only one is lost
left pulling at strings,
hoping our hands meet somewhere
at the water’s edge.

They will not.
Mirrors could not bring us close enough:
no matter what I saw of you in me,
it was only me.
I know how much you kept.

Lost

This is the pain
the break
the sunbathed silhouette
in broad day seething
like a deafened hear me
I am not known.
And I wonder
was something lost
in the eyes when you found them
gouged with their tears
and did they stain
fallen on the skin
like a blistered riverbed
and did it scar
into a marble cataract

until the lattice fell
and it all became the night?

The Shore

I am these waters,
swept in all its braids,
a brushstroke of the gliding moon.

I am its child tracing,
building ruins in the sand
with voiceless ink.

I am the canvas
for the hand print and
its archive.

I am the oysters shell,
and its pearl, but
I am not reason.

I am not the book
you read to know, nor
its binding.

I am the footprint
just before the wave.
The hope of tread,

of knowing for a moment
the hand is near, and
saying goodbye forever.

The Island

To sleep in a room alone: dreaming–
how the mind seduces the body
to believe what is lost
beneath the eyelids like a love
that cannot breach

how time is the dissonance
of feeling, motions of a barren road
left silent in a ruin
of pointing hands and bloodied eyes,   how
the hands were severed–
how they beckoned escape,  how
the eyes were a swarm of resignations,
a mirror of assaults

how no one can hear you sing
with the curtains closed:
how they wouldn’t listen
if they could

how the room is sedated,
caverns in place of pupils,
reaching for the switches without palms:

how it all feels like remembering

how
you’ve never felt at all,
how
truth is a harvest of strings,
how
the mind is an island,
how
in dreams we forget
to dream at all,
and
how easy it is to think
it is our own.