There is a part of me that wants to love you, to think only the best for you and about you. As if you are a better story than me, extending outward from my body into the sky. The mist of how you are rises upward on a soft breeze. The light illuminates and elongates your essence. Over the trees you fall, a different sort of season, slipping down through the branches and the leaves, carried by the silence. I think of you in that way and then you mix with other things, other people. In a house across town a man is dying of cancer. His lips are like a razor cut. His wife is in the third act of dementia, where the sock becomes a carrot and children are flowers in the garden. I pass them when they walk their dog. I can hear her asking about the garbage can and a war far away. In front of a shop near the market is a man with no legs. He sits everyday on the sidewalk begging without begging. As I walk by, he mutters for forgiveness and a way forward. He has few teeth and when his mouth moves in prayer I can hear the voice inside of me answering him, but I offer no benediction; no hope. There is only the sound of my words tumbling down; clanking as they hit the sides of my lungs, tumbling into my meager bowls. Stay with me now. Don’t leave me. There are the walls that enclose the lonely, the street lights with black cats, the gates, the people talking, the cars moving to families and houses with unmade beds, lovers in the park brushing each other’s hair; sounds that I cannot hear, things that I cannot see, everything is part of my breath. I am alive by any reasonable definition of the word, but sometimes I don’t feel alive. I feel cut off from you and all that is around me. There is emptiness like an echo. I have no words, yet I try. I guess I am writing this as an open letter to you, to whatever it is that we share, trying to create this thing without name. I wanted you to know that although we do not know each other, and we will never kiss or touch each other, or have late night conversations about what we want and who we are, I still feel connected to you. We will never share a bottle or a joint, yet you travel to me through the metal of signs and the blink of lights above open doors. You are there when I wake in the night and take my dogs outside for a bath of moon and stars. Everything is still and brilliant in the swirl of that blue light. When I exhale and my breath is clean and my dogs look up at me from a million years ago, I think of you, of the unknown you, and in those moments you are revealed to me, shimmering like a sad song. You are more than a name; you are part of my heart, my past, and my future. You are all things to me even though what we share cannot be named and will only be lost and found until we are no more.
I posted something like this once on the internet. One response said I had written a steaming pile of shit. When I am beneath the stars I think of this person, what they might be like, and then I think of you. My mind works in this way and life comes to me in little slivers of sharp glass and like I say, sometimes the light refracting through the glass looks exactly like you.