Walking home alone from the small cafe we used to frequent when we were a thing and things were a good deal less exhausting than they are now, I light up a smoke and inhale the soft springtime evening air. The trees which cover the stone city square are quietly creeping to life in mossy greens and deep pinks which tickles me in all the places I have left inside that still feel young at heart. How we used to collect pastel eggs in baskets at my grandparents’ house on Easter. My favorite aunt teaching me to use chalky painted chocolate eggs as lipstick, my eyes wide with defiance and excitement at eight years old, lips a freakish crookedly applied shade of lavender. There are new beginnings and disastrous endings along the curve which inevitably leads to grown up problems and more years piling up on top of your bones than wisdom of ages. We are hopeful underneath it all but rattled just the same. Rounding the corner along the park’s edge, I make my way along the path by the river and take a seat on the grass to finish my cigarette in solitary peace. Though I try not to let it happen, whenever I am still my mind floods with thoughts of you. Staring off into the murky grayness of the water, I curse myself because I am not myself when I’m caught up in your gaze, in its heat I am lovelier than I deserve to be. Something in the darkness of your desire calls to me, brings me down into the depths of my being that make me burn, make my tender parts simmer and twitch. How long has it been since we last grazed our lips over each other’s skin? So long the body aches. So long the song in my soul has all but gone out. I crush my smoke into the pavement while imagining every dirty thing you ever said you wanted to do to me. All that fire in your eyes, all that blood on your decadent tongue. As the night sky crawls its way over the tall glass high rise buildings behind the river, the cold air moves in with it. I pull on a hat and zip up my jacket. My hands are raw from washing so often, and the many blocks home move beneath me without my even noticing. A bottle of wine, another cigarette on a balcony overlooking stacks and stacks of squares filled with electric neon lights. In a velvet bar across town, tight young girls dance for dollars, swivel their naked hips like the sweet promise of a violent end to an undeserving world. And you taste them in your filthiest dreams. And you gush with jittery life as their headless bodies become the blackness you carry around all day and can’t let go of no matter how hard you try. You down another drink because you just need something to take away the pain you feel that tells you you are so empty that even happiness falls through you like grains of sand cast aside on the breeze. You just need one more chance to build a different kind of life. You just need the itch in your palms to stop keeping you up at night. You just need to kiss her but everything about her is nothing more than a whisper on the wind.