You’ll meet her the way they do in movies, in a glance across crowded streets and suddenly the sun breaks through the clouds, and suddenly the ballroom scene and suddenly you’re playing catch with your children in the yard, still just as in love as that first tender day. Or, suddenly with a quiet smirk and downcast eyes, she disappears into the crowd. You’ll think of her for days.
Your first date, you’ll almost miss each other. Mist beating both your faces, you’ll wait on opposite sides of the same statue, night revels carrying on around you until one of you gets the bright idea to check the other side. The first time you kiss her, her heart beats so loud the whole room starts dancing. Later, you’ll make love like a kite string unravelling from your center.
It isn’t love unless you want it to be. Unless you believe in auras and soulmates and the gentle crushing touch of a dismantled heart.
Of course, she’ll put the ocean between you. They always do, girls like this. Some kind of comment on the transience of life. Still, she’ll send you postcards. Put you at the top of her playlist. You’ll think you see her in the streets, a glance just missed as she melts into the faces in the crowd. On the nights when nightmares wake you both, somewhere rain will fall. It always does.
You asked me, do you think travelling is odd, in a way? Actually you asked the sky and I was staring at the stars
so we saved it for another time, another night, another moon.
Is it odd, in a way, how we share the same moon?
Tonight I’d tell you, yes, it’s odd, my circumnavigator, Atlas of the sky-- Atlas because traveller, Atlas because marble globe, Atlas because star-strewn palms.
Atlas because shoulders.
I’d tell you, in a dream, how you still hold up the world.
With heartbreaking slowness we practice the art of becoming expatriates to one another. We learn to exist as two mutually exclusive selves, strangers to the streets we used to walk. I stop sending postcards to the crook of your elbow. You stop returning my calls. Like defusing a bomb I unravel you from my sheets, slowly—tentatively—and you, darling boy, pretend to sleep straight through. It should be easy, this art of leaving home. Should be something I know too well. Should be second nature to emigrate to someone else’s eyes the way I’m always adding pages to my passport, never unpacking, never unlacing. Never quite looking back. But somewhere lost inside a pocket I still have the maps to the center of you. Still know the backstreets of your conscious. Still know the shortcuts to your fear. Somewhere buried in your chest you still can find my hidden cities, the atlantis of my secrets and all my toppling ruins. Somewhere in the city where you loved me and you told me so, the streets split up the seams. Somewhere, dust is suffocating skies. Somewhere I watch your plane take off. Somewhere, you don’t look back.
Some soft, sacred call and you feel fearful animal your bodies interlocking together completely. the reflection, the depth-- you carve the wax of her stir the ash, lifelines warmed at silver flames-- bless this burning. Bless this fearful touch. She’ll keep your love, yet.
The discovery of a love nurtured in secret, like seedlings in dark closets warping stems to find the sun-- translucent in the light and delicate to touch-- playground love sinking roots beneath unlikelihood. The orange summer days. The tree frog summer nights. The gentleness of sugar flowers perched on lover’s tongue, melting into streaks of pinks and blues. And she still thinks to blossom, nurse this quiet love of someone she would never confess once was a dream. Fleeting-- flickering-- disappearing, the heat now long past yet beautiful still.