To begin, you must start. There is no way around this.
There, I thought, maybe I will finally learn how to be cut without being breached.
And there, at last, maybe I will be a thing held and hummed and not forgotten, because I hear that you can’t be taken away against your will if you give yourself first.
Do you hear me? I’ll give myself. First. Already.
I swear it. I swear it, I do. I do. To the old gods and the new, to this word and the next and what comes after, to the stars that were only ever the tears of an unseen sun, to whatever else is watching when you don’t, I swear it.
To find this thing and lose myself to it, or lose myself in the searching. Which, I suppose, is the same thing.
A year then? Futility.
My heart tells me I have been voiceless forever and yesterday.
Forever and yesterday, the end feels so far behind, I imagine I am yet to cross it.
Dreams surface with filters and edits: mine come out gray scale. I sleep wearing clothes I do not own, with a face I do not own, a face that is not a face at all, but a grayish blur of flesh.
Did I dream it this way? I wonder.
I hold breath in, I remember the leaking, the endless leaking, I shiver. Cold washes over me. Not over me, but under, cold sweeps under my skin and over my bones and I shiver with an uncontrollable urge to laugh, as if I’m being tickled from the inside.
drip. drip. drip.
The water will burn, my brain warns, and my skin quakes, premature. As if screaming now will save it pain in the future. The skin does not know: the pain comes anyway, scream now or later.
Some nights, you come real close. So close, you can taste the sleep, you can smell it. It smells like dripping saliva and warm cotton cloth.
In the dead of the night, the clock blinking at 2:43 a.m., you feel like a corpse dragged out from the grave. Immortality forced down a mortal.
You feel wrong.
I run for pain, the excruciating burn of desire. I burn for the exquisite absence of thought.
A moment of both celebration and mourning, of the dreams you have lived and those futures not realized; of the masks of the past and the veil of the future; of the passing of yesterday, and the inevitability of tomorrow.
Take my hand, and I promise you art.
You will be the canvas of my prose.
I’ll dip my pen into the ink of your eyes, and engrave myself onto your heart.
Perhaps for all our worries about our individual existence, we are indeed nothing more than one among many.
A single artery of a heart, pulsing and throbbing on impulses from our milieu.