returning is not an option. the tide has gone out
and taken all the sea glass that i might draw across
my wrists again and again, singing the song of
not-knowing, the worst of all fears.
the dye runs off my tongue and stains your skin
you look towards the rain-washed window
and i instinctively turn my head,
gazing back at myself, naked as a fresh page
that which will survive, only time can see
that seer indifferent to all the little catastrophes
that make up my heartbeats, my breath–
even the trees will eventually shake me loose.
at some point during the night someone will wake you and tell you
that you are alone. they have waited until you have fallen into
the vulnerability of sleep, for the line of your mouth to go slack,
for your eyelashes to flutter as you dream. when you dream you
dream of everyday things. at least to you they are everyday,
because you never seem to realize you are dreaming. this person
who has disturbed you, they have a face that looks like a thousand
faces, of all hues and all variations of your one and only face.
you are the one who wakes yourself at night, only you. you wake
yourself in a cold sweat, bedsheets gathered in your trembling
hands. you are alone. you are surrounded by millions of people
but no one sees you as you gasp in the dry air of wakefulness,
and you don’t know now whether you are awake or asleep. these
everyday things (you think) you dream of, they are dreams of being
all alone in the middle of a vast sea, each face of your loneliness
floating with gaping mouth around the rotted boat you cling to.
asleep. awake. you’ll drown either way.