Time hasn’t stopped.
It drags on and on,
one moment stretching into the next,
Our dreams hover,
day-old helium balloons,
stuck in that thick space between rationalization and
We laugh, but our smiles crack.
Tragedy attracts itself,
buzzing and bumping up against our eardrums,
refusing to be silenced.
Reality is too real.
Nothing is as it once was.
What do we do when the future,
no longer a ladder toward our dreams,
flattens out into a perpetual,
his voice is low and soft,
a piece of silk you might keep in a drawer and pull out only on special occasions just to feel it between your fingers,
as a stream of I love you’s purls from his lips,
like rain from cloud to roof to eave,
and her face becomes fierce with belief,
drawing a circle around all the hours they’ve spent together,
a feeling of longing crashing against the underside of her ribs as the swollen, humid air begins to swirl with their whispers,
like the iridescent membranes of soap bubbles
life was Dorothy Hamill haircuts and bright white roller skates with colorful wheels,
dimples and batted eyelashes and 25c ginger ale in returnable bottles
before it became grocery store boxes of hair color and the embarrassment of paper food stamps,
30 pounds of extra weight and fingernails bit to the quick and too many crushed cans of Milwaukee’s Best Lite littering the shitty apartment
life was bruises no one could see and tear-soaked pillow cases,
reduced priced school lunches and ketchup sandwiches at home and too many unasked questions by too many people who were supposed to be doing the asking
before it became her own hands swinging and her mouth repeating and too many more tears on another generation of pillow cases,
expired milk and bare cupboards and needle tracks up arms that have hugged all the wrong people