15

You are the strongest person I know
You were able to lift me up so high
That when you dropped me
I fell further down than when you had found me

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14

I was told to look to the elderly men in my town for sage advice. For the problems that would plague my raw youth,
they would have the answer, the solution.
I was told by no one and everyone to look to the old men in my town for good words.
These tacit instructions
Any approach was stagnated by my sight.
Tan or dark
wrinkled skin
stretching against the bone
or hanging down as if clutching onto life
Teeth gone and crooked like long ago built fences
useless now
Glassy eyed
as if there were tears to be shed
for things lost
for things not finished
for things that couldn’t be done
for things abandoned
for regrets
Am I supposed to look to these men
These old men in my town
who blend into the cracked
creaking wood of their porches
Who sit so still
staring at the future
of their changed past
In my town
there are many old men
that I see as I pass them by

13

Anxiety trembles in my chest at these thoughts. These thoughts that are warm and soft, how they make my mind pliant, allowing for it to be stretched with imagination and fantasy.
Sometimes, more than missing him, I miss the loss of what never will be. I miss the laughs and smiles, and embraces. The wind against my skin, the solidity of his body pressed close to mine. Words that will never be said.
I miss when I am not missed.
I crave what is not craved of me and that makes the desire stronger.
For a connection to build up naturally, sweetly until it encompasses us both. For honey to touch the tips of our tongues and roll down the backs of our throats and slowly fill us up with warmth and sugar.
Even as these thoughts flow through my mind and press down hard like storm winds beating upon the blades of grass in an open field, like that field these hopes these wants fantasies are empty. And what follows is an aching reminiscence of things that never were, of things that will never be.

11

If it’s too cold, we can stay inside and strip down as the heat of our stares warms our naked skin.
We can tell each other secrets with our hands, and paint them on our bodies. We can race our hearts and lose our breaths.
The slide of your skin
against my skin
against yours

2

The pungent scent of a flowery air freshener permeated the air, but the apartment smelled putrid. It was as if the sharp scent of artificial raspberries accentuated the smell seeping from the walls, from the under the cheap wood floors. The cleanliness of the apartment was like a transparent film that only added to the filth concealed into the grain of the place.