I saw once. A light in one of those lampposts on a street corner,
one that blinked on right before my eyes in Barcelona,
along a bustling side street I don’t remember the name of.
It looked as though it had stood its post for more years
than I could imagine, faithfully coming on every night
to help a weary traveler home.
Perhaps, every now and then, your bulbs would burn out,
but they would be replaced. They were always being replaced.
You’re never quite the same after someone changes you, are you?
Time will change you. It will always change you,
whether you want it to or not. This is what I’ve learned.
You will shine, you will die, you will be replaced.
And, every time, you are still you, perhaps with a new face,
a new name, in a new place. Time changes.
I was yours.
It’s funny how much can change
because of one ocean.
That vast expanse of blues and greens and black.
You are not the same,
and I am not the same.
And that’s okay.
I battle myself.
I am reminded, as I walk through new doors, in a new city,
that you’ve always been scared of what comes next.
I can hear it in your voice.
I can see it in your eyes.
But, then again, I haven’t really looked at you
in what feels like forever—
photos, videos, all through a screen.
That isn’t really seeing someone—
completely unable to touch, to really be in a moment.
Isn’t that the most important sense, you think? Touch.
That’s what you craved, wasn’t it?
It’s June, now.
And I hope, for your sake, that it was all worth it.
I live in a constant state of thinking back
to a chilly January evening in an airport loading zone,
our last touch a confused, hesitant slipping away
through teared eyes and a knowledge that things
may never be the same again.
the bed you sleep in at night.
It’s not where you store that old magenta sweater in your shallow bedroom closet,
or where you read your old copy of Treasure Island that you keep in the nightstand you got from your grandmother.
Home is not
the coffee-stained couch that you find loose change in when you flip the cushions to clean them,
or the collection of photos in a small box sitting on the bookshelf that your father built.
the space between your hands and mine. That delicate breath of a space.
a smile in the darkness, the smell of your shampoo on pillows where you used to rest your head.
I don’t care
about the places you’ve been, or the things you’ve seen,
because all that matters to me is that you were here, once.
You’re just an imprint now. Spaces where you used to be.
We forget where home was.
We will remember, someday, maybe, again.
Or, perhaps, we won’t, and we will find new homes.
In new beds, with new hands.
or put away my clothes, or how long I cooked my food before I ate it.
It cares for nothing, yet all these things are exactly what makes it up.
What a sad state of affairs that is—to not care what makes you, you.
Or, perhaps, blissful.
being somewhere and realizing the incredible amount of chance
involved in creating that moment, as insignificant as it may seem?
Everything in the history of ever coming together in an odd speck
of time, to be gone before we even begin to notice it.
Everything is just history, isn’t it.
Words on a page have already happened—we’re just reflecting.
Moments already passed/past.
in bedsheets, mine—but they were more than that, not so long ago.
Everything that loves, leaves—doesn’t it?
Even if we don’t choose to, we must,
because everything ends. This is nothing new. We know this.
We all become dust, eventually. Pieces of the stars
that we came from. I am but a tangle in these bedsheets, cold—
I am not welcome here, nor anywhere, really.
I held onto that letter, pressed it against my chest
as if the ink on the page would fade onto my skin, like a tattoo
of backwards letters that I only I could read.
I felt so heavy in that moment.
I felt heavy, because I know.
I see it in the way smiles creep across your face even in the darkness,
and I feel it in the way you hold my hand a little tighter in the silence.
We both know. We always have.
and what it might look like.
The sounds that would be made.
What it would smell like.
What it would taste like.
Today, I thought of the end—
“Historic West Adams,” the sign read.
I was driving on the 10 East, watching the sunrise through a burnt haze, through the fog of lingering smoke from a fire over not-so-distant hills. I thought of how I wanted to burn all the letters and cards you had written me; not out of spite, or malice, but because it wouldn’t have felt right to just throw them away, I suppose. I had been putting it off because I didn’t own a lighter.
A different sign, now. “Historic Filipinotown.”
Historic, I thought.
Yes, that’s what those letters felt like as I read them on the edge of my bed, dropping them one by one — like I was spying on two lovers from an age past, with our same names.