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and all i will ever hear will be the echoes of your footsteps

by Lauren Singer

i was thinking about how you're always just...right there. your hand, on my knee, resting against me, calm, sedated. there should be a word for how you make me feel, but, there just aren't enough, maybe. i am quiet, understanding the weight of such a small matter: just you and everything about that. watching me, intense, there is a hold, and yet i cannot help but wonder whether it's true all the time or just right now. and i can't quit the sensation that everybody knows, is judging. i swallow back cotton, hold my breath. think of how it feels to be against you. an element in a sequence of events that no one else will ever understand.

coincidentally,

there are two of you. as if one were not enough. he has your jawline, stare. even the way his cuticles are shaped remind me of yours. the blisters tugging at the points of each finger might as well be replicas. i cannot even look at him. he has no idea what he is triggering. the loss of you, not even wholly apparent, digs into an artery like crushed glass.

i had this dream, this nightmare, really, that everything was ending. we could taste apocalypse like metallic beads on our tongues. the mayan calendar ran out, and everyone was sure that it was over. we knew because the ocean, not solid or even frozen, was suddenly a surface for pedestrians. and we walked on water looking down at the fish, so brutally aware of our presence. we were dying, but happy because of it. my mother, she took me aside and told me we would smoke a cigarette. we reclined, holding each other, exhaling. she said, if she had to go out she would be smoking, so she was. you were there too, teaching me how to spit. when i woke up, the breath was caught in my chest, i choked on it.

and i was thinking how when you leave, my life will never be the same. because you have become it. each comparison is a lingering pattern of thoughts you have expressed to me, concerns and warnings to heed, the way i should react, behave, even love...you have made me different, just by being. and because i can never love you, i do.

02/18/2007

Posted on 02/18/2007
Copyright © 2022 Lauren Singer

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Rowan Luis on 12/04/07 at 03:23 AM

"we knew because the ocean, not solid or even frozen, was suddenly a surface for pedestrians. and we walked on water looking down at the fish, so brutally aware of our presence." oh my....i was looking at the sea the other day and had this exact thought.

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