they seemed to burn, at first, as
brilliant scalding bursts of incessant
misplaced sunfire, the churning tails of
half-lost shooting stars tracing
deep, gasping breaths of golden
light through the space between
my ribs, somewhere I had thought to
be blocked off and boarded up, all
shadowed and shambled, filled
to the brim with eraser dust

then they were the weighted
sighs of old driftwood and sand, so washed
and worn and weathered, made
some sort of wise by too many
weeks away at sea, licked over and
cradled by great salty hands, almost
weak or wearied in a way that
when I dared half a sideways look,
to wonder through the i guess you could be‘s
and what do I say‘s, I remembered
the pull of those same waves that
once took me under the surface

but now you sit half a heartbeat
away, fingers woven in deliberately
contemplative knots, drawing
uncertain designs over the ridge
of your slightly-parted lips,
and through the unfathomable
constellations of freckles that
splay such perfectly infinite
patterns along the precise curve
of your nose, and there is but
the most imperceptible shift
in the flow of air to my lungs as
they catch me with such sudden
verdancy, earthen and inflorescent
and twisting, twining, curling, so
alive in the brushstrokes of sunlight
fracturing through the window glass

and now they are green