Pouring a hot cup of tea, I inhale the jasmine steam and think about the concept of the month of June. It is late at night and the moon has risen to the heights, a hovering globe among a nest of thick trees. Imagining June is, of course, a ridiculous thing to do given the current state of affairs but such is the nature of a mind wrapped gently in thin swaths of the elusive ebb and flow of underlying panic. Months, weeks, days, hours, none of it means anything in the present context of the itchy fabric of our insulated lives. All we have is this minute linked loosely to the next in a hazy continuum which leads into a darkness we don’t know if we will ever even get to see let alone come out of on the other side. On the other side. On the other side are rolling hills covered in tiny white flowers underneath wide open summer blue skies. Pulling my hair away from my face, you kiss me in those sunny fields so sweetly I gasp as my stomach turns into a low thrum of butterflies and soft breezes mixed with the song of wind chimes on a little wooden porch far off. On the other side are the dreams we dared not dream before the dark days came closing in, but now we have seen the terror unfold up too close. We know the sounds of the screams and have learned that they are not as loud as we thought they would be. The screams sounded just like everything else, there was no difference in the cacophony of voices spilling lies, voices spilling blood, voices spilling warnings in between commercials for cancer drugs and nicotine, beach rentals, marijuana, and pretty white teeth. The nights aren’t full of sleep so much as injected with booze and laced with thoughts of sinful acts involving a sultry girl who drags her long jeweled fingernails slowly across your bare sex. How my skin aches all over for pleasure, for a promise, for something to believe in. The sound of silence all around like a thousand outstretched human hands, you reach for them but cannot touch. Sliding underneath the blankets, my body sinks as my eyes adjust to the black. There is a woman in a long silk nightgown sitting at the corner of my bed in the dark. I can feel her breathing. I can sense her invisible body and its small weight. She is slender, ghastly, somber as she presses her hollow eyes into mine. My messenger, my voice. My pale apparition folds her hands in her lap, parts her white lips to speak. She fades and fades until at last I disappear.