I will drop everything I am holding.
I will steal the first car I see &
chase the kite string down to your hand.
Perhaps by then I will have forgotten your face.
We will not recall events beginning with a curled eyelash
& ending in grocery lists of what we could have done
differently. You may go by a different name in a new city
wear a life carved out in the shape of my absence
or make a bed with someone else.
But when the alarm sounds I will cross every border,
skip every checkpoint & dodge all bullets in memory
of what we would once have done to discern
the exact form of desire. I will come to you, gasping
& dry-mouthed as before, wearing the future around
my neck. & nothing else. I will not care if you bring
your new bedfellow or a dog hell-bent
on alerting treasure hunters to signs of life.
It does not even matter where we are headed.
There is no pain like the pain of a gulf blooming
between two sides of the same hand. There is no grief
like praying to a ghost that refuses to stay buried.
The earth fissuring each time I put you back
in it: splitting image of how the planet shuddered
when our first escape routes converged. The same way
it surrenders, now, to the unfathomable. These
crevices are nothing like the graves we built
for each other. These fires cannot touch us when
we have perfected the art of immolation. How even
death is a shadow of forgetting. We have worn it
like skin, offered the fresh peel
at our first meeting. At our last. & now the afterworld
as we know it: beyond our invention. As it has always
been. You’re not forgiven, but neither am I.
The world is ending
& we have been here before.
Natalie Wee is the author of ‘Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines’ (Words Dance Publishing, 2016) and ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ (BookThug, 2018). She is the Associate Fiction Editor at Broken Pencil Magazine.