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The glass roof of the café
looks like it’s
holding up the sky;
the wind, like
it’s blowing the cars
around the rotunda.
My words travel
from the bottom of the well
where my sentient being
fastened its roots to
the core of the universe.

I perceive distances
the way I perceive
freedom from the past:
what the light touches,
how much
parallax from movement
obstructs as if
from understanding,
grazes briefly,
reveals briefly, then
leaves to its own device.
How the long
consciously forgotten still
tints the subconscious
like noontime glare
overlaid on clothes
worn by cold strangers.
How passing details
get snagged in memory and
get faithfully recognized
as they happen a second time,
in reverse,
when you make the trip back.
How tattoos, kept close
like second skin
enough to breathe through
and take for granted
seem to suddenly throb
with defiant life,
the pain you’ve
grown accustomed to
now more real than anything
as you, in turns,
struggle to remember
and try to keep up
with too much remembering.

The faint stars press
their weight against my cup.
In the city
of a thousand beginnings,
I feel responsible the most
for days I have stolen
and miles I have borrowed
long after I have gone
back to where I started.
Bliss gets undone with tears.
The person I used to be
caught the next train home.

“Lilac Wine” by photographer Felicia Simion


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