the paper the tide

…but your long stale breath
withered when the curtains opened.
I rose sleepily, my bare feet sending shockwaves
through the stone floor.
my back arched,
I took the day’s first deep breath
and rose up to glance at you.

your face watched the darkness in your pillow.
facedown, your body remained as still
as your heart.

I shook your arms.

your skeleton responded in exhaustion
in the rattling and the softness.

“wake up” I muttered,
my mouth half full of the night’s staleness.

you remained quiet, your head fell on its side,
your eyes were thankfully closed.
you held your handwriting in your hand.

I sat at the pier that day,
twirling the last paper plane you threw out
of our window.
it had landed on the deck. how terrible you were
at making paper planes.

I watched a sun rise,
I watched our sun set.
a day passed without you,
a day as stale as your breath should have been
that morning. I read another letter
of my name and set you aside.

the ocean seemed not to wonder why
today
only I listened to its stories.
a few shells washed up, a few patches of seaweed,
as though a ghost offering
from the water
or perhaps a question.

I shook my arms.
my skeleton responded in exhaustion
in the rattling and the cold.
I sat at our spot for hours,
I remembered you next to me.

your hair smelled wonderful after breeze,
your handwriting smelled like you.
I rose. your letters lay firm in my hand,
your body caught in their paper.

my bare feet sank into the sand,
I fell to my knees and sank there too.
my hands grasped its grains, I wished to sink and forever
continue this act of sinking.

my back arched,
I shuddered to a halt, horizontal against the current.
I took the day’s last deep breath
and rose up to glance at you…

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