In the pallid tension of a fragile dawn
That awakens stretching old legs beneath its tired sky
The wail of the mourning dove sounds the alarm,
Its hollow boned wings slicing the air, a guillotine.
I heed it not.
My resolve is already pulled like bootstraps,
Ill fitting and tattered, but
I have promised my mirror—today.
We have practiced our part a thousand times, my mirror and I.
We have ticked by uncounted hours of caught breaths and stolen smiles.
We have cracked its glass with smudged lipstick and clouded eyes.
We have lost one million days to wanting.
We have held conversations that only we know
And have imagined the tenor of your voice reserved only for us.
We are ready for the stage and perhaps you will know your part already?
In words that only I have heard
Deep in darkness, your lips pressed to the shell of my ear,
You have almost said as much.
Haloed by sun, sticky with humid summer heat
You, Adonis, and I, Medusa.
I find myself stone before you.
I would compare you to a summer’s day, but
You compare me to a bit character in a movie you like first.
It isn’t the movie you love.
Your love pricks sweet like knives in legs I wear for you—
It is devastating and gorgeous and I drown with want of it.
I know it because I am near enough to its warmth to glimpse it and know it,
Though it does not know me.
When you recount the character in the movie you like well enough
Your eyes don’t steady and you don’t soften and pause, remembering.
But you like it well enough and you offer the part to me.
I had words that would draw you irrevocably to me
But I lost the line.
I sold the best parts of myself for ill fitting pieces,
And besides we are surrounded and watched.
Therefore a chasm rests safely between us
In the event that together, we are seen.
I am white noise in the periphery of you.
I turn you over and remake you in my mind for hours.
The part and place was yours and it is now mine and it is precious.
You promise me one night.
We will dance, your fingers laced in mine
And under the diaphanous gaze of every star I have ever wished upon
We will be seen.
“Wow,” is all you manage and the word carries me forever.
We do not share the dance.
Your finger tugs mine in the dark and that small moment
Becomes every moment—
But in the naked whiteness of light it is gone and we divide.
Years pass with the burning swiftness of a
Southern sun in summer,
And we play out our lives parallel.
I hold the myth of you to me until I find there is no room for
Specters in my ruins.
I bring you to daylight and I recount the tale of you.
I share you in a sacred space—
As the steam laps at my scalp
And the gentle crown of coils is made brittle and bone straight,
I await the truth of me
And my atonement for still wanting you–
For forgetting my line
And ruining us.
You are recounted to me, true:
were never we and
Were never tragically starcrossed, nor
Chained by the dark—
I was the dark
And by you, would never be brought to light.
You, a southern son,
Played your part;
(Your ignorant, grinning little fool)
I danced, dazzled by your splendor,
and I waited,
and I wanted,
and I—remanded to the shadows of a lesser you—