Unraveling over the past year, caught between dread and joy in a world careening, I decide to choose my own isolation and give the mountains a try.
I wake up in a studio apartment above a white garage. Ambling farmland stretches endlessly in one direction and in the other the late September red-gold mountains are shrouded in mist. Wrapped in a thick blanket I make coffee and light the gas stove for eggs, tick tick tick whoosh. …
Nighttime is a kaleidoscope,
catching and throwing flashes of movement,
of smiles over coins changing hands, of iridescent lilac-gold.
The heat is a live thing emboldened by the hour and spiced air
presses heavy against skin and hair and clothes.
The market tears apart the night in radiance.
Silk scarves swirl in a whirlpool of color,
eddying green and gold and violet,
orange and sapphire.
Flowering soap with unfolding petals,
red glossy chilies blazing under multi-colored tents,
steaming food and gleaming curves of gold earrings and bangles.
While the world sleeps the night market breathes out energy and chaos.
I had fallen into a deep sleep the night I met her.
She sat at a high-top table, swinging her legs while staring at a laptop screen. I moved forward hesitantly and she looked up and smiled.
I had never seen her before, but a rushing sense of familiarity overtook me. I knew that smile. It felt like home.
“What are you working on?” I asked, approaching the table.
Her eyes held mine for a moment. Blue, flecked with amber, like a sea on fire.
“I’m uploading a sketch I made for a client.” She tilted her head and studied…
The night is alive.
Tree branches rattle like bone necklaces and fingers of soft light
pull back, retreating from midnight’s unchained confidence.
Cover of darkness washes away daytime terrors,
eclipses the tedious hours before it,
tears apart the script of day.
Night is a renegade freed from day’s fatigue
Strange dreams prowl the dark
alongside hearts laying bare tender truths.
Warm fingers threaded together in the dark are larger
than the oceanic expanse of stars in a shattered black sky.
Solace is found in muted voices, dark ceilings, sweet confessions.
The night makes soul-baring rebels of us,
under the scintillating night sky
a river of gleaming silver cuts
Red-layered rock sweeps up
on either side, throwing
where mirrored water reflects
a universe strewn with scattered stars,
in spiraling purple
and blue —
billions of tiny lights
in the water and
in the sky.
Clouds billow like cotton candy pulled apart,
like will-o’-the-wisp streaking
in blood orange and crimson
across the night,
and somewhere along the edge
strangers gather as mist
“I want to die young,” she says, her words quick and dancing like the Spanish she speaks. Her dark eyes glitter mischievously even through my laptop screen.
“How young?” I’m meant to be helping her with English grammar but taking a sharp turn from the lesson plan into winding conversations like this isn’t uncommon for us.
“Oh like, seventy-five, maybe eighty, tops.”
“That’s only twenty more years, right? Stop.”
“I’ve lived enough by then. I don’t want to lose freedom from my body growing old, things like that.”
Feeling useless and isolated during the pandemic, I applied to be an…
The train whistle is a low and lonely sound, but the mournfulness of it doesn’t seize my heart like it normally would. Curled up by the large window with a book and the taste of coffee on my tongue, lazily alternating between reading and watching the world flash by, I feel dreamy and soft. We’ve been moving through the endless forests of upstate New York for what could be minutes or hours. Sometimes when the gray clouds part, sunlight spills through the trees and into the train and warms my skin.
I feel his presence next to me, steady and…
The sun is setting when I turn to look at you and your face is haloed by the glow of it. I think of all the things we’ve been through together in this short blip of time we’ve been in each other’s lives. Short, but dense.
We’re leaving the city by train, headed back to our lives, and the sun chases the train through the clouds. I want to be running along with it, still, and with you.
Can we drive along the coastal highway together? Can we go somewhere quieter than a first snowfall and look up at the…
The tiny music shop down the street from my childhood home was half-hidden, squeezed in between a Thai restaurant and boxing gym with its front painted all black and a haphazard “Open” sign scrawled on cardboard and hung in the doorway. When I bought a deep brown acoustic guitar with the only money I had, the cashier gave me handful of picks to take with me. An offering of a little magic to the anxious teenager with a blunt-cut bob and wide brown eyes.
Fifteen years later I still keep the pick on the wooden coffee table in my apartment…
I recognize you.
Your fingertips tracing across my skin reverently as morning sun slants through the windows feel like a prayer I’ve whispered many times; the solid warmth of you, standing behind me with your arms wrapped around my waist, the light touch of your lips against my forehead, my neck, makes me feel inextricably connected to something beyond my understanding. Something reassuringly steady. Something grounded. Something like home.
I’ve known you. I think we chose each other before all this, in another life maybe — before these lives began, before we knew who we would become and how any…