Erase

Gorgeous autochrome of young girl in bonnet, with dog

Image: “Gorgeous autochrome girl in bonnet, with dog” by whatsthatpicture. Source

Author: Leah Didisheim

[Content Warning: Missing person, Death]

“Has she come home yet? … No? … Where is she? … What do you mean you don’t know? How can you not know? … I swear sometimes you’re as useless as Myriam. … Well of course you should know! Do you even care that she’s gone? … Are you even searching for her, poor soul? For all we know, she could be in severe danger. Breaks my heart to think of her smile. She did have a beautiful smile, didn’t she? … What do you mean you haven’t thought of her smile? … Why aren’t you more stressed out? … I know it’s not the first time … But I’m telling you I can feel something is different this time around … Yeah, well, I’ll be sorry when you’ll prove me wrong! … Oh, but how I miss her … What do you mean I’m speaking as if she’s dead already? What else am I supposed to do? … Well believe what you will. I’ll keep on searching. I won’t stop worrying until she’s home. … Poor Lula… alone in the cold. … No she’s not just another teenager crossing her parents. That’s just not her. … Well, I’ve never known her like that… and God, Frank, even if she was, she’s just fourteen… Are we not supposed to love our children unconditionally? … Yeah, yeah, you say that, but where’s your love when it requires you to take action huh? … Look, I have to go. I can’t have the same argument again. Just please do something. … Yeah, I know you’re worried. You know how I get sometimes. I’ll call you tomorrow, ok? Or sooner if I hear anything.”

            She touched her cheeks, surprised to find them wet with tears. She hadn’t realised she had been crying. It must have been the tenth time she was listening to this conversation she had had with her brother on the phone. Yes, she had been the one laying her worries on the table. And yet she had never really trusted her own words. She had always thought Lula would call her, reassure her. Oh, how she could almost hear the tiny voice say “don’t worry, mummy, I’m safe. I’ll be home soon. Love you.” Maybe, in retrospect, Frank was the one being more realistic. It wasn’t that he was not worried, but maybe more that he had accepted the wicked truth. She hadn’t of course. Maybe she still didn’t. The proof was right there; she was still listening to this old phone conversation, always resenting herself for the way she had talked to her brother that day. But that conversation wasn’t going to change anything. She knew that. Of course, she knew that. And yet, today was no exception.  She had listened to the recording of that phone call again with the strong intention of it being the last time. She was going to delete it. She really was. But of course, this time again, she had locked her phone, the recording still there safe and sound. “Next time”, she thought. But of course, we all knew she wouldn’t. It had been three years already. And she was not any closer to deleting that phone call from her phone than she was to letting go of Lula’s memory.

A Well-Deserved Break

Tennis shoes with a yellow flower beside the right one

Image: “2018 March Art Challenge: Tennis shoes” by sarazambranotarriño. Source

Author: Leah Didisheim

[Content Warning: Medical intervention]

I had never noticed how my feet looked on the ground. I guess, with our busy lives we never have time to notice the little things. But since I was waiting here and I wanted to grab any chance at any distraction possible to forget the person not that far away on the table navigating between two worlds, I had started to look at my feet. When this is over, I’ll definitely buy a new pair of shoes. I owe myself that. If you had told me this morning this was going to happen, I would have made the most of it. I would have kissed them and said I loved them. But no, I had to hurry to take the kids to school, and go to work. And to be fair, he had to hurry too. We barely saw each other in the mornings anymore. It’s the evening we spent more time together. And still, our lives had become so busy that it was difficult to find each other on the same timeline. In any other circumstances, I would have been happy to ditch work to have a break. I guess I had never imagined my first break in six months would have been here. Scared to death of what was going to happen. And having to deal with sending messages about what was happening to people who cared. And the kids. What was I going to say to the kids. They’re so young. He was so young. No. No, no, no. He is so young. I looked up to see if any white lab coat were coming towards me. And if someone was, what was their eyes saying? Were they going to break me? To tell me I was a wid…? I couldn’t even bring myself to say the word. I could feel my heart hitting my chest, my breath speeding up. No, I wasn’t going to cry. Not now, not here. I looked up again, a white blouse was coming towards me. I held my breath.

————————–

It was the end of the day. Today hadn’t been so bad. Some days I had to think real hard to remember why I had chosen this life. Every new death was a new heart to break. That was my job. But then, other days, you could bring joy to the eyes of people waiting. I had that power. And these days I remembered. I looked at the clock. Three hours left and I could go home to my partner and my kid. And I heard yet another siren coming closer. I sighed. It had been a good day. The day when almost nothing bad happened. One could almost describe it as a quiet day. It appeared to be yet another heart attack. Poor guy, he seemed quite young. He was put on one of the beds and moved to the operation room right away. I started to go in, and just looked back for a second. I saw a woman holding her tears, probably the wife. I sighed again and looked up. Please, let me give her good news. I wasn’t religious but sometimes, when I didn’t know what else to do, I looked up and prayed. I didn’t want to go back home with another broken heart on the heart for not succeeding to heal a heart… I took the elevator and went to the operation room. I had done thousands of surgeries of this kind and it was usually going well. And he was still young, so it had to, hopefully, go well and quick this time too. I went in there and started the surgery. Most of the time I could have done it eyes closed. After about three hours – it was not as easy as I had hoped – it was over. I looked up again and sighed. He was going to recover but his life was definitely going to have to change…  I washed my hands and left. I took the elevator up again and moved towards his wife to tell her the good news. I smiled. I was not going to break another heart today.

Inflation or How does everything get that expensive?

Author: Salomé Emilie Streiff

When I sleep, memories tend to pop up in my mind like popcorn in microwaves. They show up in groups, chatting about the past and yet haunting the days to come. Sometimes I touch myself and it’s enough to make them disappear. Often, they come back, sassier than ever. 

“Happy birthday”, they sang, holding a cheap store-bought cake with already used candles from the nearby mall. They were trying to smile, wanting me to enjoy the 1.30 francs spent per person for this surprise. However, if they were to be honest with themselves, they would have agreed that it should have been canceled as soon as I told them my friend died. 

“Hot girls that cry on their birthday are hot but girls that know a week in advance they will are hotter” he said. I wish the number of tears spent over the year could truly give me extra hotness point. Call me vain, I couldn’t care less. I wish I could gain anything in my grief.

“Are you sure you’re okay?”, she asked. Silence. I nodded. With her smart eyes and dancing hair she was too charming to be worried. I mumbled a somewhat mature and philosophical answer about life’s true purpose, its inherent will of moving on, growing flowers out of pain kind of bullshit. She smiled and the lie was worth it. She grabbed the gift papers and tossed them in the trash. We made out that night. The lie was worth it. 

“It’s been almost a year, did you realize”, she said. It’s been three, I thought. “Yes.” We broke up two weeks later.

“And what made you come?”, she asked. I kept inside the sex pun that was on the tip of my tongue. “Be honest”, she said with her serious looking glasses and typical tidy therapist cotton shirt. So, I tried to be. “It was the cheap store-bought cake with the already used candles from my high school’s nearby mall”, I said. Silence. “They wanted me to be happy, just so they didn’t waste their stupid money”. “And what made you angry”, she asked. Silence. 

And at some point, the flashbacks tend to stop, leaving an exhausting sense of numbness. I then close my eyes and pray to the God-that-never-replies for sleep. “Lord forgive me, I know I should not have touched myself. Could you let me sleep? Amen”. They all wanted me to be happy. I turn in my bed, tired of fighting the irony. The fucking joke was that I tried to be happy. The price of my happiness was 1.30 francs per friend that day. How does everything get that expensive?

The Vaguest Hint of Hope

Lavender field

Image: © Christelle-S, Pixabay License. Source

Author: Anonymous

I don’t like the preachers that walk along the city streets, talking about tomorrow. They know as well as I do that it just isn’t going to come, and I really think that should satisfy them. They draw huge crowds of people, flooding the gaps between the tall, bone white buildings, and they sing, and they scream about how tomorrow will come, how there will be dawn and there will be dusk, and all of this will be beautiful and lovely. Well, I don’t need dawn nor dusk, and I can live perfectly contented knowing that when it is dark, I can wander empty streets, contemplating the inky black spaces between the buildings, and when it is light, I can wander crowded streets, wondering when it is going to be night again. This seems to me to be a sufficient existence. 

There is one preacher in particular, one who goes about dressed in great colourful robes that conceal almost their whole figure but the flash of their bare feet and their face, broad cheekbones and golden eyes. I don’t know if they have hair or not, I don’t even know their name, but they talk to me every time I pass them by. They’re here now in fact. I duck my head, avoiding their gaze, but they look straight through me, and put out their hand, blocking my path. I look at them. Their face is inscrutable, but for the vaguest hint of hope in the upturned corners of their eyes. 

“Will you not listen?”
Their voice is smooth and melodious, but there is somehow a sharpness there, something like a rebuke.
“I would rather be home,” I reply.  
“I would rather be heard, but we cannot have everything we want.”
“Have you anything interesting to say? Something other than ‘pray for dusk and it shall come’?”
They smile, their eyes softening, and they come up beside me.
“Well, I have something today, if you would let me walk with you.”
They seem hopeful in a way I don’t quite know how to understand, so I begin walking, gesturing them to follow.

We walk silently through the crowded street, people are moving every direction, seemingly everywhere all at once. I thought I heard them start a sentence, but they are drowned in the noise of the many thousands of people that are gathered together, the pressure of the city on us. I was meant to be going home, but there is such a weight of human bodies here that I pass my door without so much as a glance, and we walk on. Later, although how much later I couldn’t say, the people thin out, and the buildings begin to shrink and spread apart. It is as though there is more air to breathe. I stop moving to sit down, and rest my legs, but the preacher doesn’t stop. I jump to my feet, though they’re still sore, and break into a run to catch up with them. They are easy to see in this emptier place, and although I was not still long, they have gone far ahead, nearly out of my sight. 

I run quickly, almost desperately, to close the distance between us. If they turn down the wrong alley, they will be lost forever. But they don’t turn, they carry on straight as the arrow until I reach them, panting heavily. They regard me for a second, then a second more, then they turn heel, and carry on. They do not speak then, and neither do I. Silence suits them, and I have spent much of my life in it, and it is not uncomfortable. So we walk. 

I cannot tell how long we walked thereafter, only that first it was light, then it was dark, and the dark seemed to stretch out the more we walked in it. The buildings dwindled, as they had been since first we came from out of the crush of the centre of the city, and then they were gone, and the road we had been following was gone, and in their places were wet grasses and briar as far as the eye could see. 

The preacher is picking through this new landscape, with the purpose of a hunter stalking their prey. Their robes, so strange but fitting within the city, are still stranger now, and when they glance back at me, their golden eyes seem to catch lights that I cannot see. The only sounds are our feet crushing the leaves, and the occasional rustle of the heath. It is as though we are walking through a shallow, but endless grassy sea, stretching out to the dark edge of the horizon. And with each footstep, I feel myself come unmoored a little more from time, until all there is, is the present. It does not get light, and for lifetimes untold we walk. 

I assume we’re walking blindly, waiting to reach the horizon, or the end of the earth, but before we come to either, the preacher seems to stumble very suddenly, falling to the ground with a dull thud. When I reach them, they are kneeling. “Are you hurt?” I ask them. They laugh, and gesture at the place they fell. It looks like a simple flat stone at first, but when I lean closer to the preacher and touch it, it isn’t smooth like the stones of the city. There are lines carved into it, forming intricate, interlocking patterns of diamonds and five pointed stars. “How long has this been here?” I wonder. The preacher murmurs something below their breath, and the patterns I felt in the stone light up, a pale blue light trickling from their hands down the length of it, slowly at first but gaining momentum. The light extends well past the place where I thought the stone ends, into the plants beyond. They stand, take my hand and lead me to the centre of the emerging square of light. 

“It’s been here since time ran straight,” they say, “as far as I know. I don’t know if it was made by people, or if some other force made it into being.” Their eyes are shimmering like they were before, but now I can see the light they’re reflecting. It bounces off the planes of their face, and makes them look alive, and real and solid in a way that no one looked real and solid in the city. They are purposeful here, purposeful and powerful, and they can conjure light to them and bring ancient wonders back. I wonder, as I contemplate it, whether I even need to leave here. It is quiet and calm, and the wind that blows carries with it the soft smells of grass and flowers, scents from softer times. It had been so long since I had smelt anything that was the bony dust and sweat of the crush of the city’s crowds. There is such peace here. 

The preacher looks at me, breathes in sharply and asks, “have you ever seen dawn?”. I laugh. “Of course not. Dawn is like dusk, it’s a story your lot made up.” 
“You would think that,” they answer. “You don’t remember a time when there was a sun.”
“Well, was there? Is there one now? Light and dark, yes, and I’ve seen shadows, but have you seen the sun? Have you seen a dawn or a dusk?”
“Would you believe me if I had?”
I pause at this, taken aback. They continue, “You don’t think the world is wrong now, then. You don’t think it’s strange you have a house, but you never spend any time in it? That you don’t sleep, and you spend your whole time wandering, but you never actually go anywhere? Have you ever thought about it? Have you felt anything about it?”
The lights shining around us flicker and dim a little.
“Is it any worse than how you spend your day, talking to people who don’t listen, pretending there’s such a thing as the sun? If you opened your eyes, you would see it doesn’t exist, it could never exist. Things change, but the sun doesn’t rise nor set. Light comes and goes, and we come and go with it. And that is all.”

“I heard of a story, a very old one, about a couple. There were two people who loved each other very dearly, but one of them died. Of a snakebite, I think. A snake was a small creature with sharp teeth and a poisonous bite. But the other couldn’t quite bear their loss, so they went down into the underworld, to get their lover back, and when they got there, they found everyone as shades, mostly bodiless, and all they did was wander, nameless and faceless. When they found their lover, the dead one couldn’t remember their name, or anyone else’s name. So the live one began to sing, and the song was so beautiful that all the shades wept what tears were left in them, and the couple was allowed one attempt to escape from the world of the dead. They had to make the journey back, the living one leading the way and never looking back. But their courage faltered, and they stole a glance back as they reached the world of the living, and the dead one was dragged all the way back to the underworld.”

I don’t answer. 

“When I watch you, or anyone else in the city walking, that’s what I see. A sea of people who aren’t even really alive, who’ve forgotten their names, and worse, don’t even remember that they ever were alive. The sun is gone, the moon and stars are disappeared, and you stopped living, and didn’t notice your soul was being stolen away. You didn’t notice as you dissolved out of being.” They started very calmly, but began speaking with more and more passion until I am on the verge of tears from the weight of the words they’re casting at me. And they aren’t wrong, time is come undone and I don’t think I am alive in any real sense of the word. “Do you think I am dead?” I ask.

“I don’t think that,” they say. They are very pale now, and I can hear their breath shaking. Their eyes are closed, but I can still see the lights glowing beneath them. They turn their back to me, but I can see them trembling, poorly concealing their sobs. “I think the world is.” 
“But then, why bring me here? Why bring me to this place that still seems alive? What is the point ?”
“It’s a good place, is it not?”
“It is. But why here?”
“This is the edge of it. The edge of time. It exists on the other side.”
As they say this, I realise the sky was lighting, from the deep end of the horizon, lighter shades of reddish blue creeping up from the grasses.
“This place, it’s where time turns, it’s where you can find tomorrow.”
Like a dam bursting, the sky illuminates itself in shocking colours, a bright sphere tinting the space above it pinks and oranges, and then it’s there, the sun.
“Dawn,” I whisper, and smile.

 

A Madwoman’s Saudade

A drawing of a woman smiling from a three quarter view

Image: © Andreia Abreu Remigio

Author: Andreia Abreu Remigio

To Robim, the dog

I.

“Sum total we were seven kids with me,

One brother vanished, one’s son turned the gun.

My sisters? Jealous of what I could be,

How close I would be flying to the sun.

I took my talent to the capital,

Whence I could almost get to the New World.

The lessons I learned were all tangible.

“Can you please tell me what are my words worth?”

I asked them, worried, waiting for my call,

I had the life that I’d dreamed of at last.

Above the landmarks I could smell the salt,

And honestly, I thought the worst was past.

My waves met his coastline by accident –

He got my missing piece of innocence.

II.

My hand he asked the man who put me here.

Our love was like two burning flames combined.

My freezing hands could hold his pain, my dear.

So magical like folklore was his mind.

When he would let his heavy eyelids close,

I’d polish plates as hard as a devout.

And he would not let anyone oppose…

His lips would make any seeds and sweet peas sprout.

Believed in him like in my childhood’s dream.

I’d swing and sway softly in my chest.

Remember times when he would glow and gleam,

There was no reason to go and get dressed.

We tried to overlook the tears, truth was

The stasis amplified each of our flaws.

III.

And he went looking for another one,

As if I were somehow wasting honour.

Eventually I guess he found some

Fragment in bottles. My once bright colours

Are now eclipsed… I’d keep doing the laundry

Like Groundhog Day, and everything was gauche

In my life as he was out the country.

Through my curses and cries unharmed he goes

And goes. I had the shiniest voice, now

It’s rusting. Our coming of age has come

And burned out. You know the love story died out –

So what is this poem for anyway, um?”

Absentminded I hear “Happy birthday

By the way! You should call more!” I hang up.

Starry Love

Image: © Muhammed Salah 

Author: Nadia Aden

Black and white drawing of a couple holding each other

I wish I could embrace the universe,

I wish I could feel his cold warmth,

I wish I could know all of his secrets,

But even if I can see him every night,

He’s always moving away from me every morning,

I think about him all the time,

His stunning eyes,

Sparkling like a billion of stars,

His smile, as colorful as nebulas,

His majestic body, as colossal as galaxies,

I wish we could just be together,

Our attraction is powerful as gravity,

But our love is constantly in expansion,

So we will never reach each other.

A poem

Colorful suburban streets

Image: ‘Suburban Streets‘ © Felix the Cat.  Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Author: Arthur Margot

Crossed with us she shouted and boomed and raised

Her voice, throughout the household heard,

Intonations soon dismissed by ears,

Livid, she thought to chase us all

Down the flight of stairs and

Hoping to catch any,

Out the door and

Of her grasp

Did we escape,

Realising nothing could

Usurp the freedom once tasted and

Left unchecked of fleeing from a mother’s hold,

Easily slipped, scampered, dodged, bolted, vanished,

Soon to hear the distant yells echo fainter and fainter.

Created Creator

Created Creator

Image: © Noupload Source

Author: Jonathan Collé

Created Creator

And he cast away his great pen, sat back on his chair, cross-armed and cross-thoughted, the cascade of ideas still pouring about his head in a myriad of lights.

            And the creator saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

            “Hey! Who am I?”

            And the voice startled him. And he looked again at his work in shock.

            A little man, a picture, a mere representation of a shard in his mind was stretching, walking throughout the paper and the lines that were meant to be his world, contemplating, scrutinizing… He had no idea of the author’s presence, could feel only wind, not a breath, and the two great eyes that stared at him from beyond infinity meant nothing to him.

            The author’s first impulse was to touch this character that had suddenly come to life. He approached a huge, clumsy, trembling finger, and slowed as the distance between his reality and the impossible shortened, ever so slightly… a touch. Nothing. The paper did not rustle, and the lines did not stir. It was still this same frozen plane, this two-dimensional creation that meant nothing without his own consent. Yet there it was, this character who kept scrolling about, stumbling on a coma, falling face-first on a metaphor only to lash-out an angry fist at this unalive antagonist. But was this character not unalive? wondered the author, convincing himself that it was not. For when he caressed the paper and the letters, he could feel only this, paper and letters; not even. Bumpy paper. Is that enough to create existence?

            “What am I?”

The protagonist of the story – if it were ever a story – had screamed. Of that the author was sure. The protagonist had cried like a new-born, wailing at… him? It was a defining question that the stumbling, angry thing had asked, and the little being had poured it out, not caring to be alone, or unheard, not waiting for an answer. Or was it?

            The author trembled at the sudden thought, that his creation might see him. For the question was directed, if not to someone then to the world, and its creator. The protagonist had uttered its first sentences like a new-born answers his first welcome to life: anger, outrage and incomprehension.

            Overcoming his fears, the author leaned-in on his creation like a scientist looking to peer through a microscope. And the conclusions came quick. The “thing” -the author could not yet call it a man, nor was he sure he ever would- had asked not where he was, but what he was. “Who are you?”, asked the caterpillar to Alice. And the author felt himself tumbling down in a spiral- a rabid whole- for this unanswerable question opened only mysterious doors.

            “I don’t even know who you are”, wanted to answer the author, “leave me alone. Decide for yourself, see if I care.”

            But care he did. He wondered the very same thing now, as he peered at the moving impossibility which seemed to stand and look at him straight in the eye! Although of course it could not see; or rather, comprehend. “What did it see?”, wondered the author, not caring to poke his character anymore, content to watch it in a well-deserved awe.

            “I don’t know who or what you are”, whispered the author, still half afraid that his creation might hear him. But there was only fascination in his voice. The answer both entities sought was unreachable, it could only be chipped away – and then be frustratingly incomplete, wrong even. Who was it but a part of the author’s imagination?

            “But I definitely didn’t want you to do that”, thought the author as his protagonist kicked and raged at what had caused him to fall once more. “Nope, not at all”. The character was dancing, flashing middle-fingers all around, head up and a defiant scowl marked on its face.

            “Then, what was it? Was his imagination on rampage?” thought the author, concentrating, eyes-closed in an attempt to find out if the thing would simply disappear. He almost ripped the page, stopping himself just as soon as he had wished such folly. No, never. How could he kill what he had created? “Have I created it? Maybe then, I could kill it without a second thought, but this… situation…” The author kept staring at his creation, afraid even to blink now, that such magic may vanish as quickly as it had come. “But had it come quickly?”, the author wondered. He then went through his process of creation, only recognizing now the painstaking efforts that had wielded this result.

            “You are Jack”, warned the author, chipping away at this mountain of nonsense. “You are a killer. A cold-blooded killer. But you have a heart. Somewhat twisted, but sill a heart. You… have been created as the result of a problem.”

            Was that true? The words became lies as soon as they were uttered, for the thoughts they were meant to convey were too complex, too nuanced, they couldn’t just be flattened by arbitrary sounds. Utterances; utter nonsense. But the author focused once more: it was not non sense. It was simply different. New. Another kind of reality, unbeknownst to him until now, yet as real as his vision, as true and mind-bending as an optical illusion. And this reality was seriously undermining life’s illusion.

            The author saw Jack sit down. But was it still the character imagined, the friendly antagonist, soon-to-be-helper of the main character, possibly a secondary character with a high spin-off potential? It seemed stupid, vain to question such obvious knowledge, but what also stroke the author as unbreachable was the simple fact that Jack, if truth be told, had only been nothingness. A rhythm created by different readings of ink-traced tree parts. He was the wind, or rather the sound that wind and a poorly closed window could make. He was, indeed, the monster conjured in the mind of the child investigating said noise. Was the monster real? Where had reality stopped?

            Where does it begin?

Poems by Marie McMullin

Images: © Marie McMullin

Author: Marie McMullin

 

 

Arms Open

Once unbound

                        your hair cascaded down your back

just as wild but lighter than the laughter

                                                                                                         falling

hard as hail

as the storm brew in your eyes.

                                                   Once I tried

to anchor your grief

hand held out

in vain

wisps of hair trailed your escape.

 

Still at the table

me here

you there

wounds glimpsed through vapours

of brewing tea made me believe

my hand

by inch

 by inch

would grasp solid flesh

that took flight

light breeze

and poured us more tea

me here

you there.

 

Walking side by side,

should I believe the joy lighting

your eyes, promising,

or the gap from your hand to mine

                               holding

the stuff of dreams?

 

So many years, love, standing apart.

One step is enough

to walk into arms held open

so long bereft and aching

to reach round your neck and swear

I’ve got you.

I’ve got you.

 

Nest

The birdhouse has two new lodgers;
This year the happy pair are blue tits.
They’ve already started on home improvements:
Twigs, moss and blades of grass,
And even a tuft of dog fur the breeze
Carried off when I gave him a brush.
Madam settles out of sight,
Mister flutters anxiously about.
And then the heavy lifting begins:
Open mouths crowding the door,
Relentless hungry cries spurring on
Parents to endure fourteen-hour shifts
And keep the worms and insects coming.
Such loud chirping lacks discretion –
The magpie that massacred last year’s brood
Lurks about again, its shadow
Stretching over the many bodies
Of the neighbourhood’s cats, cut-throats languishing
Below the nest. One well-aimed stone
Makes them scatter; they’ll be back.
This doesn’t lessen the incessant comings
And goings of these two tiny birds,
Ceaselessly working towards a future
That isn’t promised; perhaps that’s hope.

 

Beyond
From the window I see the moon
Peering through a veil of clouds.
I stare, and say hello, my sister
In solitude across the many miles.
Silent, but there, and kind enough
To let me believe she sends back
The gazes of others far away
Looking up and adoring her face.

The night sky is studded with stars.
Lyra, Aquilla, Andromeda –
Stories riddle the ether.
Light years away and out of sight,
Galaxies come to life and die,
And still blaze on in the dark
Writing off both time and space.
It is enough to make you believe in fate.

Sibylline stars, chartering courses
With incandescent ciphers.
Who else learns the universe
Expands, retracts,
Is born and held in a name?
Stepping up to Atlas,
I push the skies off his shoulders.