I lost my heart in Xi’an,
slipped it into the suitcase
of a boy I’d met three days ago
before kissing him goodbye.
Strange, how stray words tangle
and lives shaken off trajectory,
My youth was spent by simple
seaside. Every day, watching the
gentle rise and fall of predictable
tides. Whilst he grew up on the
other side of a different shore line.
I wonder if the same waves would
remind him of when he saw crimson
flow, breathed in the stench of fragile
bodies broken by the warm earth
they were buried under, all the
nameless numbers surrounded by
plaques of rubble and dust while
the sun rose behind him as if
it was just any other day.
Somehow, our paths converged
into a single line, both of us
waiting to see something we would
soon forget, barely noticed another
unfamiliar face in a more-of-the-same
place, exchanging silence before
parting ways, only for our paths to cross,
again and then again. Now I don’t
believe in fate, but isn’t loneliness
a feeling we all try to escape?
It takes a few hours and an uncareful
moment before our bottled sunshine
spills, it spreads, thick, like marmalade.
Smells like the summer I left behind,
sticky sweetness glazes across skin
and breath, shimmering like the copper
notes of when night meets day, it coats
our tumbling half-truths in 4am light,
shines with the softness of dreams
woven from unfulfillable promises we
chose to believe. Catch this fleeting
moment before shadows stretch it
into infinity or nothing at all.
By day three, we hold hands
in public but never palm to palm.
(We do not want our lifelines
to tangle any further, we already have
knots in our stomach and messes
in mind.) Alas, we are puppets to reality
and not love, convincing ourselves
otherwise hurts way too much.
For when a string of responsibilities tugs,
it does so violently. Leaves me
with angry welts across swollen heart
and what use does he have for it now?
Bury it like a terracotta dream
so that if one day it is remembered,
by then it may be art.