those little Christmas lights spread across the sky
You and I met in the stairwell, run down, gleaming,
Weary like children of adults and their droning.
Clutching gin glasses, unsteady in euphoria,
Slightly swaying to the song not yet written.
Were we alone then? How did we speak?
Our voices—glitching, shimmering, unreal—
Played impish tricks, wasted revelations,
Fumbled the ancient gifts of language.
What we took, each from our own isolations,
For change, the future, relief of skin, love,
Were wounds from apprentice surgeons plunging
Far beyond all skill to close. From that gamble
Love would never come: we won instead
Bursting flights of pigeon, glowing railcars,
The roughness of sequin between cold fingers.
Schools of lost sharks, promises
Stamped in snow, tarprints melted by fear,
The cacophony of a bed with no one in it.
And those little Christmas lights spread across the sky.
A city made a world and then a ruin.
image: Fragment of a royal portrait (possibly Nefertiti) in yellow jasper, c. 1336 B.C. Metropolitan Museum of Art.