along your heel, my stitches still mark where your shadow clings.
they are raised and ugly things, more scar tissue than thread,
pink: it was the only color I had.
I trace my indelicate attempt at embroidery with fingers still clumsy,
still wondering. I wanted to make art of you, but I mucked it up,
fucked you over. walking will never come like breathing—
but has it ever? have you ever known the ground?
even your shadow floats when we go out, or it would:
I can’t really take you out. you’re so luminescent your shadow glows,
brighter as it grows across the pavement with the hour.
you think an hour is a silly thing. it’s always summer to you,
the days mere moments. time is not your currency:
you cannot spend it, cannot waste it. you let it be.
I think in ticking clocks, but I let you be. I am happy
to trace your nuances with my fingertips, following
a train of thought across your forehead. I marvel:
your skin never used to wrinkle, but you have grown
like a shadow in the evening light; you have known this world
and me, if only in the night. you land at my window as the sun
sets against your back, shining through, lengthening
you, your spine, your shoulders.
I watch your shadow stretch across my bed.
in the dimness before dawn, I lie awake
while you sleep, dreamlessly. your scent,
cedar and stardust, imbues the stillness
with the ache of moments passing.
a breeze peeks in my open window,
whispers of the rust of autumn. its cool fingers
pass in greeting through your hair. you stir.
I know we’ve spent the summer. I know
our stores are gone, lost to the ticking
of my watch, my heart. I know.
I pluck your stitches, staccato, unwinding
your scars, resetting our acquaintance
like a clock. when you stand in my window,
the same boy but for your shoulders
knocking against the frame which once
swallowed you whole, when the wind
remembers your name, when the stars
recall the way, your shadow
will remain perched on my windowsill,
warm as a sunbeam’s echo, dull
without your summertime glow.