last night i dreamt you came back to life, my life, bringing with you all the worlds i’d never seen and spreading them before me in your open palms, offering me my choice of glittering galaxies. you were new [yet not unfamiliar, never that], and i saw oceans in your greener eyes, felt the earth shift slightly beneath my bare feet when your fingers brushed the satin skin on the inside of my wrists and i held my breath unawares. this was unrequited love, this fumbling fusion of fate and freedom; this was a dance for ghosts, your bright-eyed reticence disguising torrents of boiling blood and my loose-lipped semantics reducing poetry to modern myths.
“i’m not afraid to die,” you told me once, head in my lap as we lay in the grass, sun-dazed and certain we would go on forever this way. “i’m just afraid of what i’ll lose in the process.” i was silent, settling your words under my youthful skin and thinking of what death takes from you, of what you were afraid to lose. i wanted to give you those things but found myself empty handed, dream-laden but reality-baffled, forgetting how to let you go in fear that you might discover stories outside our own in which my feather soul would have no anchor.
“there are other truths, not just this one,” you’d say, examining my fingers that lay twisted in your own as if seeing them for the first time, foreign and fleeting, and borrowing that vacant tone of misplacement. i knew then that i’d lost you once again in the very way i hated most to lose you, to the batterings of your own beleaguered thoughts that stripped you of your green youth. it was a pattern we accepted by now, your waves of transcendentalistic futility, both of us knowing how sad we’d become in our frantic attempts to read between the lines you’d draw, turning love into a thing of tattered cottails and vacant rooms. this had never been my choice.
“there’s love,” i’d plead with you, my voice yet not my own, fervent as a child’s final attempt to harness the wind while belief totters dangerously close to the precipice of indifference. you’d look at me then through the saddest eyes and cup your hand around my jawline for an eternity before finally whispering, “love is for the lucky, or the lost. you’re both, darling, but i’m neither, don’t you see?”
i let you go without a word, not knowing how to keep you, having no worlds left to offer that you hadn’t yet explored from coast to coast; no vast oceans of hallowed secrets to make you crave adventure that you hadn’t already exhausted. i watched your silhouette fade into the shadows until you and the darkness were the same thing, and i knew then that the world was flat; that no one ever returns the way they left you, if they even return at all; and that were are not lucky, none of us, who ever love enough to lose a lifetime in a moment’s breath.
but i was wrong, this time, and now you stand here before me with hands full of dazzling skies and emerald seas and implore me “choose one” with your shining eyes, a smile i don’t recognize on your face. my fingers tingle with something akin to fear and i am hesitant to remember you, and instead of choosing from the glitterjewels you’ve gathered, i softly touch your cheek.
“the greatest of these,” i say softly, your face in my open palms.