A girl curled up on the staircase. There’s the sound of scratching puppy footsteps below and arguments above. Sometimes shutting out the noise isn’t a bad thing.
Bed head and scraggly face. Stumbling around in the early morning hours with heavy eyes. Sometimes hiding under the covers just makes time fly faster.
Endings. The drone of city traffic and biting cold can induce temporary amnesia. Sometimes it makes me sad to think of things that don’t stay.
I am my disassembled states.
You are my warm desert breeze.
This city is my favourite place in the world. It’s all shine and glitter, each streetlamp is a shower of silver-screen dreams blind to all faults and I think it’s perfect. But the truth is, I love it a little less when you’re not walking its streets too, and I think that’s an insult to this place. You’re always too eager to escape. You’re a 30-day trial and I have issues dealing with non-permanence. (I always delete apps when I find out that I’ll get cut off after four weeks - it must be a control thing.) These days I just stand beneath the pools of off-white light and watch the moths flutter frantically amongst themselves.
Somehow I find myself on the roof of the TD building where you stood six months ago. I look down at the people walking by, tiny spots moving back and forth. I could capture this moment and play connect-the-dots with their heads. I pretend that I can see a crack in the sidewalk where your skull hit the pavement. I imagine the ghosts of your memories floating up towards me saying, “Remember me. Remember how I was a flightless bird and could not hang on to the sky.”
I have this recurring dream that I’m sitting on top of a tall brick wall. On one side there’s a forest fire burning in the distance, and on the other side there’s complete darkness. And I’m sitting on top of the wall, too high up to jump down, with no memory of how I’d gotten there in the first place.
Have you ever tried to hold the moment of some significant change in your hand? Have you ever seen a pinecone fall to the ground? Stood outside as the rain stopped falling? Have you ever tried to grasp the moment when the night turns into dust and today becomes yesterday? There’s an immensity that escapes in that second; I keep trying to hold on to it but the moment I touch it, it slips through my fingers.
Have you ever seen a forest burst into flames?
The light from the fire holds my attention like some horrible car crash. The smoke is a mixture of ash and condescension, filling my lungs and choking me from the inside out. Condescension suffocates worse than smoke. If hell was real, this would be it. I can’t run, I can’t escape. All I can do is sit and stare and choke.
I consider jumping off the other side into the darkness. After all, I don’t know what’s down there. Maybe it’ll be nothingness. Maybe it’ll be concrete. Maybe I’ll wake up. All I know is that in the distance, a forest is burning.
But this is the messy art of facing things:
knocking over what I love with what
I avoid; only to learn again that
this is not of our timing.
It doesn’t matter what thorns we carry
or how we squirm to avoid their pain.
We unfold as long as we love,
pried into blossom.
You always said I have a great memory, so I’ll tell you a memory that you might not remember anymore. This was back when we still had lockers, back when I had “teachers” instead of “professors,” back when my no-good shenanigans kept me late at school cleaning chalkboards or some other appropriate form of punishment. Back when my friends and I would wait at each other’s lockers so that we could walk home together. But that day they must have gotten tired of waiting (or I hadn’t cleaned the chalkboards fast enough), because I arrived to a deserted hallway and a sheepish looking locker surrounded by no one. I whispered to a dust mote that it sure would be nice if I had someone to walk home with, and I swear you must have heard me because you came through those doors like I had wished you out of thin air. And I never figured out how you appeared by my side with such perfect timing. But I know that after all these years, it still feels like home when I’m walking next to you.
when i see you again
i’ll greet you twice
because once just isn’t enough
to say how much i missed you.
We’re only built to spill and wonder where the heart went.
my mother always taught me
to walk with my head up
eyes, gazing forward
eyes, blazing with the purpose of a thunderclap rhythm
because your dreams are out there, she said
not down there, she said.
in Waterloo, they teach us
to walk with our heads down
eyes, warily marking the sidewalk islands where our feet can step
careful, they said
the geese excrete where the people walk, they said.