dearest xxx,

we never loved each other but that doesn’t preclude me from addressing this to you, a letter of my tiny thoughts that you’ll never see. you’re smoke unfurling in the wind. you dissolve faster and faster as time recedes from the brief little point in which our lives connected. i struggle to recall your face, your voice, your smell, your sighs, though i’ve got a roll of film that i never developed with your nakedness upon the emulsion. maybe i will have prints made, finally.

i wish you could never see me again; you wouldn’t recognize my stony complexion. i am hardened and weathered. there is a profound sense of loss set hard into my eyes, a sadness i cannot shake, a mouthful of doubts that muffle my voice. the resinous smoke of bridges burned lingers in my hair, even though i cut much of it off, the dead amber straw piling up at my feet and bursting into fire as i’m nailed to this stake, catching cold. any tears are instantly sizzled into steam leaving scars on my skin that are invisible to all but me, and that mirror, and my words.

i still think about how i left you with such excitement and wonder — and how our last hug was so anticlimactic, and how i should have known, i should have known.

but it easier to lose myself in your seaworthy hair than it is to lament this year. i can only continue through sludge and hope that your spirit reappears in the form of another human someday, one who can rinse the flotsam from my calves that i drag along behind me. i can’t ask anyone to follow — the sand ahead is quick, but the harder i struggle, the wider its maws and i am determined not to sink.

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