Dark breathes.

Even as night thickens

I can see in the glow of your soul,

An outline in deep twilight.


We tangle.

My veins bruise, purple and green,

And bleed light

Into your opening hands.


Time breaks.

We push the shards aside

With closed eyes

And warming skin.


Night pauses.

And the words that once felt like a lie

I now hesitate to speak

Because of their over-truth

And the gentle weight on my lips.


Hallowed Ground

You sit across from me in a coffee shop, and we stare into our coffee as steam swirls lazily, whispering around our faces like curls. We’re pausing mid-sentence, wondering out loud how many places in the world are thin places, places suspended between heaven and earth. Places where humans tread hesitatingly.

And you say, softly, this is a good place.

I’m beginning to realize how often you say that. Here, in the city. And then, when we wandered through the late summer woods. When the stars were drowsy and deep and strung like string lighting through the branches. When we laughed on the road, our toes curling into the black asphalt, screaming away our loneliness like our throats would burst. When our bodies brushed, and I saw the November moonlight reflected on your face, and I caught you gazing at mine. When your heartbeat was as steady and aching as the thrum of wings.

At 6pm, Chicago is glowing shades of gold, and we take off our shoes. The city where we tread is hallowed ground.

Wonderingly, I agree: This is a good place. We are a place of prayer. As sacred as a cathedral, and as well-worn as a firelit cafe, with the sounds of traffic echoing off rain-soaked walls.


It’s the warm breath of lungs

And the cool breath of spring air

That I felt in you.

The kind of warmth that wakes white blossoms

And kisses seeds deep in soil.

Break through the frosty earth. Grow. There is nothing to be afraid of.

And now the sun in my chest is

Pink and starry and rising.

You have stayed with me through the night

Though the heavy, wintry woods,

And lilacs are beginning to bloom.




The girl who fumbles with her keys and lives by music alone but gives her guitars away to strangers. Her skin reminds you of daffodils in the summer and her eyes remind you of prayers and you do not know where her sense of fright ends and her sense of loveliness begins. She cannot distinguish between a necklace and a rope. You have never met anyone with as much life as her but you think she will die sooner than anyone else.


The boy who forgets everything, his own name, but is terrified of being forgotten. You can ask him a question about anything and he will answer you, but behind his eyes he is not quite sure at all. He takes better care of you than he does himself. He is bursting with life and color and it worries you – someday he will explode, maybe already he is exploding. He creates masterpieces inside of his brain. Including you. You are his imagination.


The girl who calls herself an open book but only ever shows you the cover page. Sometimes you aren’t sure if there are any more pages. She isn’t sure either. But sometimes at night she cracks open the book and remembers why she keeps it closed. You never think to ask what’s inside. She will live longer than the rest of us and she will live less than the rest of us combined.


The boy who loves music, but only the music that reminds him of himself. You wonder if he loves you in the same way. People fall through his fingers like saltwater so he clenches his fists too tightly and squeezes the last drops out of his hands. He thinks he’s going to save the world but he will never try to save you or save himself. He might have a superhero cape or a gun strapped to his back. Or in his mouth. It’s the same thing.


The girl who wears flower patterns and sings songs from the musicals you watched as a kid and is always talking about her next lover, but her world is filled with none of the color that she is devoted to. Her mind moves and shifts like gears. She is adored by all but some say she never adores back, and you never know how to take that. She always seems to be wearing the exact same outfit she was wearing when you met her.


The boy who lives in the past and can never quite make it back to the present, but somehow he is the only one who keeps you grounded. You can depend on him and he cannot begin to depend on himself. He has forests in his hair and sun on his face and mountains in his heart, and all he ever wants to do is return to them, but all he will ever do is stay. If he talks fast enough you will forget that he is exhausted.


The girl who covers herself in lines and phrases and tiny flowers and always smells like ink and jumps a little when you touch her. She embellishes her skin with a pen, or sometimes something sharper. When she wakes up, she hears music in her head, and she likes to believe it isn’t her imagination. She may laugh or cry for the exact same thing, depending on her mood. You will never understand her taste in music and she will never mind.


The boy who loves deeply but is never really loved in quite the way he wants. He will tell you everything about himself before you understand that you have no idea who he is. He isn’t sure either. He is a hastily glued idea board, an agglomeration of the ways that people have treated him, a collage of album covers and old magazines and casual words and the people who live in his head. He has the same eye color as you. You didn’t notice until now.


The girl who laughs louder than the rest of them and you think it is because she is happy but then you learn it is only out of habit. Her lips long to speak about her hurt, but nobody ever asks her, so she paints them over with red and paints over her life with dresses and movies and hairstyles. She clings to old fantasies because nobody helped her to grow out of them. She wears stage makeup because nobody told her not to. She acts in plays and sometimes that’s easier for her.


The boy who never fit in, and it’s okay because he never never wanted to, but somehow you hurt for him anyway. He finishes your sentences for you but would never start one for himself. He’s an ending, never a beginning. You’ve never quite sure if he’s looking at you, or looking away, and even though he can tell you everything about yourself there’s always a chance he doesn’t know you exist. His presence is almost as painful as his absence.


You knew all of them. But maybe you never looked deeply enough.

a question

a dreamer's landscape

What is love?

I know I am not the first to ask this question, I shall certainly not be the last, yet I stretch forth my voice and ask it all the same. I cry to the cosmos and nothing returns but an echo.

Some would say it is physical intimacy. Yet this is ultimately unsatisfying, and temporary. It also places us no higher than animals. I refuse to accept this choice.

Love is a warm breeze, caressing your cheek as it passes on its journey. Love is the brush of two hands together, unintentional, yet laden with meaning. Love is caring more for another than you do for yourself.

Love is all of these things, yet none of them at all.

Love hurts. When you love, you open yourself unconditionally to another person, and they will often hurt you, despite their best efforts. And you will take it. There…

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I have been suspended in space

For longer than I care to remember,

My feet ripped from the breathing earth,

My head trapped and surrounded by purple nebulae and wheeling giants,

Reaching for some semblance of ground

As I drifted further into the dusk.


They claimed to be breathtaking,

Spinning and lost as they were.

Claimed to show me the galaxies and the planets,

And all the corners of the universe.

So I dove for them, further away from the dirt,

Plunged from security, into the deep of the night,

Reaching for stars that disappeared as I drew near.

Mirages, shadows,

Grasping at clouds,

Light that turned to darkness,

And crying at the sudden emptiness.


But then,

A boy put his arm around my back,

And helped me back to the grass and the wind and the quiet sound of rain.

And we lay in November leaves, and looked up.

His eyes, safe. Body, warm.

And finally,

I began to see the entirety

Of the universe.


After all of this time,

I still believe that we met in a dream.

Like the dark side of the moon,

forever masked in the shadow of reality —

real, or not real —

you are my Schrödinger’s cat.

Perhaps underneath your skin,

you are trying to find me too.

Perhaps when we both reach,

we only draw further away.

I understand this:

you are the shadow,

and light only hides your face.

You are the other side of my soul,

and I am your ghost.