Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

Featured Author

alba fucens

i’m playing house in the ruins of your home

climbing over walls you could never climb

making a mess of your insides and outside

i’m seeking shelter under your open sky

from the same rain which sought rooftops

when there were such to find: now

your world’s wetter than it was, damp baths

and muddy cisterns, sanctuary laid bare

under the gods’ stormy skies. your hills,

your fields belong to the clouds and sun

and trees, to whom the mountain towns

with their dogs and joggers are newer

than your city but no stranger: all seek

to trample leaves and dirt and call it known

but your roads weigh my steps and find

them lighter, uncertain of the way,

foreign feet tapping out static and echoes

among the skeletal traces of your home.


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.

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