June 2019

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The steward guides another group of tourists among ancient walls. "This building has survived for hundreds of years and it will stand for hundreds more."

Every night, he falls asleep in the crypt. "And so have I. And so will I. Amen."

- - - - -

The crucible of ordeal is elevated to holiness and we worship at the altar of virtue earned through suffering. But when you scream yourself awake again, no place on a pedestal brings healing, and your shadows claw deeper, silent and unrecognised.

- - - - -

She planted arches of willow, promises that grew into shelters, reminders. Long gone now, her whispers still drift through the leaves and I still rest in the shade to listen. Outside of time, we linger in the places we create.

- - - - -

The flash in the sky and the billowing cloud and the gathering wave. The end and the end and the end. On higher ground, a fortunate distance away, I wait without guilt. Sitting in lotus pose, breathing deeply, the air tastes of new beginnings.

- - - - -

Moonlight glows through curtain cracks and a hovering phantasm, a once-broken spirit, wrings pale hands. Warm and present, the living mirror sits up in bed. With no fear of her own face, she reaches out. "It's OK. Rest with me now. We survived." 

- - - - -

There's nothing craven in a calmly turned back, nothing weak in a voice not raised. What masquerades as retreat is a gathering storm, cold and determined. Hearts may break, but so do bones.

- - - - -

With every passing century, stone wears silken beneath reverent feet. Faded paint is born fresh from the hands of each new generation, but sunlight is no less golden now than before the saints had halos.

- - - - -

I pour until the glass is half full, a detached attempt at optimism for as long as it lasts. A year ago you would have lit a smoke, but tonight you stare at your own empty hands while I try not to think about how much things change.

- - - - -

A dress with a delicate floral motif rests across a bed which hasn't been slept in for eight years, and precious memories settle in dust on dolls' hair and small pink furniture. Time holds its breath here and closes hope's eyes with gentle fingers.

- - - - -

We debated our hypothetical options, dissecting the comparative benefits of wings, invisibility, and mindreading.

But when a stranger told me that something I'd written had saved their life, I had my answer.

If you could choose any superpower...

- - - - -

I don't lack empathy. I have it in abundance. I understand completely and I feel all of it so deeply.

The rush that comes with his last breath is almost too much. It's blood-soaked, fear-drenched, exquisite. That's why I need this. To feel.

- - - - -

"You're so beautiful," he said. "I can really see a future for us." Of course it was a ruse, but it didn't matter. I wasn't looking for that kind of future.

When he wakes up in the bath of ice and finds the stitches, will he remember how beautiful I was?

- - - - -

Midnight and our breath entwines by cold October as we realise we've forgotten all the constellations but Orion. Even nameless, they stare down from a cosmic history away. Even insignificant in our heartbeat lives, we stare back.

- - - - -

Steeped in the modern mythos of planned obsolescence, another relationship ends with an electronic buzz and only a fraction of the available characters. "It's not u, it's me. Sry."

- - - - -

We can dismantle this regime by compassionately breaking each other's chains, link by link, instead of fighting over who gets the prison cell with the best view of the executions.

- - - - -

And so begins an epoch of emptiness and healing, a time without us. As the final prophecy is swallowed up by silence, all that is left takes a deep breath and the air has never been so pure.

- - - - -

In a world of free-range danger and wandering threats, I struggle most to protect you from yourself. I can only warn you of fire in the sky. I am not programmed to stop you running towards the places where it falls.

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