IV

thoughts drift back
to each of you
with the strangest things

when i’d only just started sleeping again

with the lights off
and any covers at all:

favourite summer dress
coffee orders, side of the bed
dog-eared passages i thought you’d like

all this useless information
that has the audacity to announce itself
when i’d only just started sleeping again

with the lights off
and any covers at all.

around the same time i pretended
flowers weren’t two-thirds water,
grew in cracks in the cobblestone pavement
and in abundance by slow-trickling streams; out of
openings in my chest
that opened up the possibilities of living pretending

you all weren’t made of all the same things
and two-thirds water too.

so now that i’m sleeping again

with the lights off
and any covers at all,

i just don’t know what to do with this information,
but can’t help wondering
if you remember mine
and that i stood next to you like that.

makes me wonder

if that’s what we are all afraid of          in the end?

that no one will remember
you stood together

and existed.

when they rip up the pavement
and the stream dries up
please know

i remember.

after all,
what connects us in the human condition,
giving life
through compassion, an extended olive branch
of vulnerability, is the cure
for apathy towards each another

—for loneliness.

a burden so pressing and important
it hurts, everywhere we touch,
leaving traces of dna.
to feel connected is to feel responsible for everything, our way
of paying back the world
what we owed it,

a little stardust caught.

i’d only just started sleeping again

with the lights off
and any covers at all,

when i planted flowers
where barbs grow
in a box outside my window
the one that light once shone through
onto your back
with the sheet bunched at your waist.

now the vines entwine around the bars
blooming full
like our hands once lived.

so if flowers and people
are two-thirds water

flowers are all around me now

and so are all of you.

-Olivia Roney