by Alejandra Almada
Even now he torments me,
though I stand suspended miles above infatuation,
reaching desperately for unknown depths of forgiveness.
Oxygen grows scarce in my lungs
at this altitude above my comfort zone-
the sound of his breath remains
a staccato rhythm in the void of my ears.
like high-heeled stilettos
striding across a polished marble floor.
His silhouette lingers
in the corner of my eye,
broad shoulders shrugging and dripping with a smile.
An aching pain,
a bleeding wound,
irresistible in a dry-cleaned suit.
The weight of my sister’s hand upon mine,
familiar after years of tender touches,
pulls my heart from its hiding place up my sleeve
and my broken soul from its refuge in the lofty clouds.
The abyss in her eyes is a starry sky
and her torso is not unlike the waning moon
as she contorts everything I've ever known her to be
into a human cradle to embrace me.
Our roles are reversed from what they usually are-
her hands are cold and not a word escapes her lips.
Every second she holds me,
her promise reverberates around us with
echoes of great success
and disheartening failure.
I loved her from the second we met.
Now, I am everything to her.
I can still drift away into the stratosphere,
return to treasured thoughts of him,
even when her hand is the one I firmly hold in mine.
She knows her presence alone can't erase
the abrupt plunge of his jawline
or the light tilt of his head.
Similarly, he knows the taste of disbelief on his lips
or the bitter hatred in his tongue
can't soothe the constant longing in my soul
the way her voice can.
But on days like these as she heals
an aching pain,
a bleeding wound,
within her freely-given silence,
the warm yet ephemeral
becomes tangible for a moment-
betraying the pretense
that they're the same.
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