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In all of my dreams, the words I love you

"the interviewer has my hand / in their hand now & they ask me if I’d like to learn"

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May 30, 2023

sound like they are being spoken underwater. the interviewer asks 

if I have come to any new conclusions about the titanic. I think dying 

afraid is treason against your lone, cherished life. a disaster of terrible hours

masked by occasional miracle. but I am speaking for myself, I say. I want time

to fall in love with my endings before I take their hand. a halo of orange

stains my cheek. A smattering of lipstick before a door closes & never opens

again. I look up & it is dark before I can ask forgiveness for not loving

the occasional miracle of light. at the dawn of dying, a man

told me it wasn’t the entirety of his living that flashed before him.

only the softest, prettiest moment on an endless loop in every dream

& he said to wake up from that, each morning, & still be here

was another kind of death. the interviewer asks if I know how to swim.

I cannot see water from where I  l̶o̶v̶e̶ ̶ live, so I don’t believe it can touch me.

the story is there were people aboard the ship who would have survived

if they believed the ship was sinking. invincible beings on an invincible vessel.

but I ask who is in charge of setting the distance between knowing

you will die & not wanting to. from far enough out, it is impossible 

to tell where the sky ends & the water begins, a child might say, a finger hanging

over the sand-struck edge of the world. what strange architecture, the illusion 

between heavens. darkness mothers darkness which mothers myth. 

any good executioner knows this. an iceberg finds paradise in the yawning black,

its bladed edges looking, perhaps, from afar, like stars strung across 

another doorway to another unromantic night. the interviewer asks 

if I know how to swim. I love the thrill of waking

from a nightmare, evicted from the hell of my mind’s own making & thrown

back, gasping, into a moment of gratitude thin as the thread that barricades the door 

between love and anguish. a half-minute to praise the hauntings, the illusions

that would rather me dead. but would you believe the bed is still

empty, despite the good news. I apologize to the absence until I envy my dead

pal, who died a new death each morning when he was torn from his long-gone

beloved. who, in his dream, danced with him in their first house & sung darling,

you send me / I know you send me into his ear & I haven’t loved anyone enough

to want to run, screaming their name through God’s hallways. I haven’t loved anyone

who visits me while I sleep & die & die again. the interviewer has my hand

in their hand now & they ask me if I’d like to learn. they tell me it’s only as cold

as I imagine it to be. I’m sorry. I am always doing this. we began somewhere

else. I know we are here to talk about drowning, but what if we never 

find each other in the afterlife. if we arrive with a memory of love, a sweetness 

that took its leave upon our earthly exit. what if even in heaven, we are meant to wander, 

lonely as an iceberg floating between a lie & the truth. wouldn’t you want to stay 

a little longer? The child standing on the shoreline understands

this. means to say that there is no difference between the suffering. 

heaven, another kind of drowning. I would be among those who were called

disbelievers. I would find a place to watch the sky while the ship curled upwards

like a wicked grin. I need a moment to fall in love with my endings. I know, 

it will be over soon. forgive me for holding on. I am too afraid there is nothing

on the other side. God fashions a door & you spend eternity walking through,

only to find another door. God invents an echo of longing for all of us in

the end. the interviewer asks if I know that the flowers I’ve been holding

are dead. When I look down, I wake up. A parade of rose petals spiral 

from under my tongue, each one covered in ice.  

This is the end mark. You have reached the end!

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