brew is an acquired taste
where we say nothing, goodbye’s dragged
behind us with your footsteps stirring
my bones warm.
see, what are we but signs and arbitrary boundaries
circling and colliding with the walls of a shrinking
cup: jaded limbs crinkling like dried leaves as we get
impatient, caught up in the clash between white
peach and earthy undertones, our skulls empty
rooms, unmade beds left with grey blankets
cast aside, milk cartons left out in the
heat, text set in mismatched print and
cancelled out in white when i saw your closed
eyed smile and learnt
how to dream again.
we sit back to back, your breath
always a step slow, rising over the young sunset
and mizzling down in gold blades,
spiralling in the interstices between our toes
chasing each other’s tails, you
taunting me with the pad of your thumbs
spiralling in a slow orbit to come clean,
and get some rest in the middle of the bed;
a pair of folded hands pressed
into one line stretched across the platform gap.
i think i liked you more when there was less
of you to learn, before the seasons changed
and you fell along with the sun over the candlelight
into a slow boat on the west lake, sieved through
bronze gauze onto rice paper blotted with blurred
projections of the moon.
before you forgot how to tell which reflection was
real, even after struggling to keep your eyes open
against the glare of the shadows cast by
before you pasted silver flakes over your dull skin,
and lowered your gaze because it was unthinkable
that it would have been easier to recognise
not what’s there but
what’s not there.
you are more: when i am awake and restless
and cannot stop thinking about how the bruised sunset faded
before i could remember the soft edges of your voice
rising and getting caught
between the blurred pleats of grasping waves,
and the thousands of miles stretched between our
these are all the things you are: careful, mild-mannered, careless, hands aligned neatly together such that the uneven beads lining your angular wrists make soft indents on your scarred skin. uncertain eyes raised towards the spring dawn from beneath the pale red umbrella, a small breath lost as you curl yourself into the damp palm of the bronze buddha and stretch a thin sheet of rice paper over yourself – lighting the match where your heart lies quietly.
yet stepping backwards into the dark exhibit in the corner of the street on the last day, this is all we have left: thirty-three pale reflections of the moon dotting the curl of your spine, overexposed photos of a thousand altar candles and symmetrical sketches of museum corridors – ground over two hundred and sixteen hours and packed into small teabags to be dropped into the insides of a handmade doll, sealed and preserved with blunt pieces of loose jade:
animate stories, significant names, beautiful writings and shared glances buried beneath sleepy grins, wide lensed portraits and the loud voices of women behind counters hard-selling displaced language and history.