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I could have told you loneliness
sticks to the spirit like craft glitter on sweat
from a cheap crazy party you once went to
so you could forget whatever merits forgetting
and fill yourself up with loud things
you would remember for years to come.
Blaring music and confetti and damp, smoky
air the smell of drunken kisses wafting
towards you out of nowhere as you cut
across a field of elk pasture the most clichéd
shade of green and silence as complete
as your sense of self used to be
draped over the mid-morning sky.
Instead we looked off the distance
in the same direction and I talked about
shaping the future, motioning with my hands
like I still believed the future was clay-like
and my hands were masterful, betraying
no trace of the knowledge that everything
beyond here and now is more like forged steel,
cold and unforgiving and only tarnished
in places, just so you and I could get excited
about the light that reflects off it and projects
onto our jaded vision bright portents,
so we could mimic the excitement we had
too much of when we were children. No mention
of loneliness and what it does to the clichéd
green of the pasture and why the fog bears
an uncanny resemblance to it. But maybe
you caught it anyway, the strained reaching
for home, for an old abandoned dream,
for surfaces of things that have faded
from diligent dusting, for the act of dusting,
for the dust that have finally settled and
claimed what used to be well loved and
cared for, beyond my sight. In the timbre
of my voice, maybe, a tad confident
and crafted for an audience, or the parts of
the narrative that felt deliberately omitted
to avoid clutter, to improve clarity. So you
could see me better. But the dust I don’t
point to is part of the picture. It is hardest
to wipe off around the edges. And that’s
how you know it’s authentic.

“Beautiful young woman in the forest” by photographer Evgeniya Litovchenko


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