of light and darkness

where were you when the light finally faded:
i was an afterimage of a firework in the sky
a string of bokeh lights, which are beautiful
because of the very fact that they are out of focus
and i teeter on the edge of a blurred curve,
a blue and white city skyline seen through
a glass of water. these filaments of loneliness
thread through the air where the light never hits,
and when i speak of these things that wake me
too early in the pre-dawn, my words are orbs of
light, fuzzy-edged, describing the intangible,
things that balk at illumination and leave me
flattened to the earth as a shadow that is still
inextricably linked to the light, that cannot exist
without the light. and i would meet you in these
dark places with hands full of ash, just to wake
with you and cup the sunrise over your sleeping
body till you ignite, so that i might exist as
nothing more than an outline on the wall.

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4am

waiting for the day to break in to something more,
i curry addiction with broken-fingered resignation
to leave this dilated sphere sooner than anyone might
have imagined. in the darkness that curls around me
like the underside of a leaf, i am as safe as i might
be inside plato’s cave, making shadow puppets on the
walls. i think about my father who i don’t visit but
look for in every older man i meet, how i never
measure up in ways small and large, from not being
able to roll a cigarette to not being a good daughter,
and how i don’t find myself relating to my old music
anymore, how angst has been replaced by the kind of
reluctant complacency that one gets from growing old,
how beauty needs to be pointed out to me like staring
at a painting for a long time and not seeing how many
different shades of green there are. everything just
looks grass-green, waiting to be cut by the lawnmower,
a monoculture half-obscured by the blindness of an
aching fatigue that grows with every passing year.
in the shower, i notice the veins roping along the
backs of my hands, and i want to cut them out with
a razor, string them around my neck to show proof
of how hard i work to be loved, but a coin under the
tongue is not enough fare, and i will be stranded
on the banks for all of eternity with a full pack of
cigarettes and a lighter empty of fluid.