Jeweled

I would stand in the shadow of the hallway leading out into the wide open space,
looking for you in the distance.
People would rush past, intent on not wasting any more time than it took for them to get there,
and I would linger, my eyes searching for you amidst the sea of bodies.

Alas, I would find your smiling eyes,
your laughter booming from where I stood and before then,
you would see me in the shadows and smile knowingly,
and I would make my way out to you,
myself beaming in mutual acknowledgment.
You would slide over to make room for me,
or demand that whoever blocked the way do the same,
as I was sitting nowhere except beside you.

In the evenings, we would sit on the couch in your living room,
our knees touching absentmindedly as you told me about your day,
of all the people you interacted with,
and I would listen, all smiles, and we would laugh over the stupid bits,
and then you would venture into your kitchen,
throw white rice onto a skillet, mix in kimchi and chili sauce,
and make the best bokkeumbap I would ever have,
and pack extra in foil for my mom as she loved it too.
You made food for me because you loved me,
and I loved you anyway, though the food was a bonus.

We would resume our positions on the couch after dinner,
our legs criss-crossing over each other,
there in our contented fullness,
high on life and on the daily presence of one another,
counting on each other to be there every other night,
to keep out the world and keep in this love,
a love that neither of us would acknowledge,
as we enjoyed the limbo we resided in far too much,
as we enjoyed a sisterhood that would always edge into something else,
as we went on with the outside world,
and the boyfriends we tried on like cheap shoes.

Everyone else was temporary, and we were permanent.
We protected each other like alphas
who could sense an external threat from miles away,
and no one crossed our path successfully unless permitted.

I think of you now, as I begin a new journey of transformation and progress.
As I attempt to navigate the waters of conventional accomplishment and fulfillment,
as I feign enthusiasm and earnestness for things I know nothing of,
things I may only partially believe in lest I am proven wrong.
I think of our shared wildness, our shared rebellion,
the ways in which we made each other feel insurmountable, indestructible.
Of our innate sense of what it meant to be young women
who demanded more than the world would offer us,
who demanded an entire universe and nothing less.
I think of the ways in which you were my sister, my friend.

I think of a love that remains forever gilded in a precious time long ago,
a time of ceaseless wonder and defying possibility.

As I inhabit this novel space of adult normativity,
I remain as wild and as rebellious as we ever were,
our spirit flowing through my veins like the air I breathe,
as I fight for the quintessential person I have always been.
The world I have crafted expands brightly before me,
and while I am filled with a deepening affection to move forward,
I will think of you in time, in the things I do,
in the moments when I have strayed from that old path,
the path of wildflowers and moonlight.

Bespoken

These hands take easily to yours, sweet emptiness rendered warm to mutual touch. Ready and willing, I look into your nightly depths to see little but reflections from dim illumination, intent clear as morning mist. Come, you beckon ernestly, come to me and away we’ll go, into the night and far from this madness. Stay, I say, stay here in the chaos with me, where I’m wanted and remembered, not out into the unknown. You beckon until your mortal limits can plead no more, and then you retreat. Ever the face of elegant and inconspicuous desire, you give yourself away in haste. Would that I were as foolish as I dreamed to be, I would’ve whisked away with you and discovered the grounds of my darkness. An ideal for an hour, you retreat back to your corner like the stranger you were.

Convulsion

Life is pain,
beauty simplified,
the grace of a quiet moment,
a sentiment laid bare,
your hand in mine,
lain under the shade of orange green leaves,
the spots of sunlight flickering like diamonds across our skin,
the birdsong undulating around us,
here in this perfect equilibrium,
where things grow and remain in motion,
as we lie amidst the harmony.

Graceless

I wonder stupidly if you’d still love me after my run around the world and back to you, at the end of the line. If because of my innate selfishness I shied away from sharing myself with you, I backed out and away to work on other things and realized that I liked being alone, that despite my capacity to love, I have a greater capacity to suffer. That no matter how many times you show up I want to give you the universe and yet show nothing for it because I’m the end result of subtle mistreatment, of pervasive dysfunction. I’ve resided there long, I’ve seen the world to know what the reality is and here I am preserving my sanity. You’re the casualty. I don’t want to give you the universe because I want it for myself. I wonder how you could love these heavy bones when there is so much suffering in the world. How could you concentrate on us when there are others. All this noise and nothing but the pain of distance and withdrawal, of slow heartbreak. I wonder of the ease of waiting for the plane to bring me up into the clouds and over the grid and back to this soothing and dark pool of illusion, of my continuing delusion. Somewhere in the distance, you’re waiting for me but if I look back, I’m lost.

Carnival


My eyes are dark and my lips are rosy. Through the hallway, down the winding stairs, out the cloisterious triple-entrance, and onto the corner of the street. Down the block, past the brick apartments and straight to the station ahead. A stop for coffee somewhere crowded, people entering and exiting, me passing through in the same fashion. Down the neverending street with its tall yellow lights illuminating the twinkling lights and passing barges down below, along the river. The wind pushes me along as I cross the bridge to the other side. The sky is periwinkle and carnation as twilight descends. Books, I see tables filled with books upon books upon books. I exhale puffs of brisk evening air as I look through a box of science fiction titles. I leave the books and walk up the bank, to that familiar spot. There you are, bundled up, waiting for me.