a tattered strip of royal blue
stares me down every time
i flick my eyes towards the window, the bars
like jagged teeth fallen victim
to severe dentistry;
stark straight and starkly cruel,
the nightscape exists to tease me.
the stars remind me of
the lights that sent shadows skimming across
the porch back home, like sentient beings.
i was afraid to whisper sometimes, i'll admit,
because i felt the shadows would whisk
all my secrets away.
i still watch them glide the walls of my room, you know,
and i like to talk to them. i wonder if my words
still reach you, in this moth-eaten, tattered, cardboarded world,
where the people shriek and the walls scream
am i nothing to you now that i'm gone, i wonder?
are we nothing, in the end?
i flick my eyes towards the windows.
mornings are ten times more severe than nightscapes,
and that's on the good days.
i have forgotten how to sleep.
breathing is a mechanical process
and the remembering is uncalled for;
it grasps me by the jaw every night and destroys me.
i can see you standing by my door,
in a house, on dry land,
a small patch of Memory. and you ask me
to drink midnight.
i watch as shadows come dancing
from your fingertips, strange patterns i do not
the walls cave in and out on me. i moan.
i do not want--do not wish--do not have the strength--
to stand by and watch you die again.
so i stare at strips of tattered royal-blue and try to forget
that there is such a thing as just existing.
ivy snakes around my ribs.
i try to forget. i try to forget.
thorns scrape the side of my face.
i try to forget. i try to forget.
a flash of steel against shrubbery.
i try to forget. i try to move on.
wide eyes going from grey to green to ochre.
submittance. revival. quick, painful death.
i try to forget. please don't let me fray.
there was blood.
i speak to you every day now. i hope that you can hear me.
do you remember, back when i was me
and you were she,
how most of the time, we would lie with our legs
tangled amongst the bushes
and pretend we were walking in barbed wire?
you always had a thirst for adventure and you told me
that you'd drink the sky if you had to.
we laughed back then, like it was
meaningless fantasy, but now i remember the scarlet
and i shudder.
they have taken away the binds.
now there are only chains.
they clink when i shiver. i moan and they
laugh at me. they sound like the glass bangles mom
brought for you from India, and you wore them that night
when your eyes turned ochre.
i wish i had heard them, back then.
i wouldn't have to live with
hearing them every day.
the keeper told me to stop moaning.
i'll always moan for you.
can you hear me?
it is cold. it is freezing.
i have not slept. my gruel has turned
to ice; turned to stone; turned to nothing
i will ever digest.
the cabin-mates whisper
of more bombings, of more guns, of more
children dying, children dead, children's corpses on the streets.
more men shall join us tomorrow, they say.
more broken men, some like me
who do not know why the earth drags beneath them--they wear
bandages congealed with blood.
and others we are told are evil, cruel
there are no definitions when you are in a prison cell.
variation is punished without reason.
men fighting over strips of royal-blue: scraps of green, dry land.
jagged teeth jagged teeth; bangles clinking I love you in morse.
there is fear, there is fear, there is so much confusion.
there is blood. there are shadows.
there are no good days.