I like to linger in the space between one day and the next –
the entire world fades away as eleven turns to twelve,
and I somehow remain,
left to gather up the fragments of a shattered heart I cannot remember how to repair.
I take a drag of my future and hold it,
heavy and glowing inside my lungs for
one, two, three.
I exhale, watching the tendrils of smoke wind their way
around AP Calculus, around Raleigh, around college essays,
in the door of a 200 square foot musty apartment and out into a green backyard
with a picket fence and a border collie named Inevitability.
I find a certain pleasure in tearing pages from my notebook –
as if by laying fragments of my existence face-up on the hardwood floor
I can will them to rearrange themselves into something better;
as if by flicking ash onto black ink
I can become the paper, become the fire, become the smoke that will carry me
far, far away from here.
There’s a building pressure inside my chest
and I’m not sure how many more pages I can burn before heat consumes me entirely.
Perhaps I am not words, but light and ember –
perhaps I do not want to reorder myself
as much as I want to watch blisters simmer across my fingertips.
This should be simple:
smoking ashes in a firepit sixty-five miles west of Abilene,
rain that lingers on my lips long after I have ducked inside.
This should be simple,
yet I linger to light up again.
- maye hadley