What Once Was

If we were to dance, spin in circles, lift our feet off the ground and run away together, leave this place unknown and unfazed, would you? I want to ask you this, because I see your reflection in the window, your skin sunk in against blue sheets in the heat.

Would you love me still when everything had been shed and we are naked and uncompromised and ruined.  Would you still love me in that moment, cover your breath with my own, fill my mouth with honey, leave traces of you all over my skin and forget that once upon a time there was mystery here.

I look out the window, to old buildings being broken down, to the places we used to go and sit, to the rooftop where we would yell at the stars in the dark and hope that everyone and no one was listening.

They’re tearing that building down, right now, as I speak to the air and possibly you, maybe you’re listening, maybe you’re not. Maybe you have hollowed out your chest and cleaned out the gunk that resides there, so you can taste the salty air and still breathe.

I see my reflection, it’s there in the window but it’s someone else. She holds up her arms, pressing her chest down, her movement is uneasy. She turns as I turn, she moves as I move, but she is not meant to be looked at, not this way. She is still holding on to herself, trying to physically contain everything that is whirling around in the room, the intangible loneliness that sits on breath like a fog. He is still here. This intangible lonely man, covered in sheets and begging for something that I have already given someone else and lost or dropped or misplaced somewhere so long ago it seems fiction.

He rolls over and his wallet drops to the floor. The quarters fall out, tapping various surfaces and bouncing around, breaking the silence, cutting the sound and entering into my ears with a loud tapping that doesn’t shake him in the slightest.

If there is a moment I hope never to forget it is this one. Not because it is beautiful, but because it is not. There are flies buzzing around our heads and it has never been hotter in this part of the city. But for whatever reason there is freedom in this moment, freedom in knowing that once was will never be, and what will be cannot be what once was.

unsplash-logoJOHN TOWNER

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14 thoughts on “What Once Was

  1. Sheesh, the poetry in your soul…is amazing! The way it arranges itself on paper is really profound in its simple expression. You elegantly strip everything away but the truth, that remains, seated there. This paragraph right here expresses it…”Would you love me still when everything had been shed and we are naked and uncompromised and ruined. Would you still love me in that moment, cover your breath with my own, fill my mouth with honey, leave traces of you all over my skin and forget that once upon a time there was mystery here.” This is one of the best definitions of love I’ve seen put to paper, figuratively speaking. Thank you!

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  2. Happy New Year!!
    May this New Year be special in every way … bringing you the gift of love and excitement.
    I will introduce Japanese New Year’s customs.
    In Japan, there is a New Year holiday where family and relatives get together.
    On New Year, Japanese children receive gifts of money known as “Otoshidama”.
    Otoshidama is given to children by adult relatives such as uncles, aunts and grandparents.
    The amount of Otoshidama grows as the child older, for example, 1000 yen for children under 10, and 3000 yen for children over 10.
    Otoshidama is one of the exciting traditions of New Year, which children look forward to very much.
    Ryoma.

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