There is a place

somewhere along the sides of a yellowed road

where I can finally breathe.

 

Not in some shallow, torn way

not like I’m grasping for the wind’s flexed forearm.

But like for the first time, I can taste it.

I can feel it unfolding its fibers on the roof of my mouth.

 

Maybe this is what home was, all along.

Barefoot, a million threads unwinding, cotton coming apart in a frayed dawn.

Not from force.

 

But from brilliant peace.

 

For one solid minute, even the natural quiver of my shadow stops.

In and out.

 

My ribcage collapsing, singing freedom.

 

Where is the known note?

Waves beating my brain dark blue and grey.

Where is the sacred, scared, stiff palm that tears skin from bone?

 

I lose things from time to time.

But now I am gaining them back in complex, contorting forms

pieces strewn along the desert’s red chest.

 

In the rusted tint of the moon

I name the only star I know.

 

And start climbing its angelic, arched back

footholds appearing in the inked sky.

 

Paving a way elsewhere.

 

 

A Last Call

 

Because I thought I told you when you stand still

iced over, dazed, mostly flexing towards the moon,

 

there is little light left.

 

There are edges,

ways to make slight sounds against

greying, fleeting, falling walls.

 

But mostly,

you need to pay attention to Time

as she moves.

 

Watch as her hallow chest

rises and falls.

 

And if you lean in long enough

perhaps you would be able to see

that she too

has gone dry.

 

Made of glass,

splitters and sparks landing around her folded ankles

 

And she too has story upon story

under the soft pink of her sea eyes.

 

Because you are only half now.

 

You are only unwanted, a forgotten figure,

too thin and worn to made up a full shadow.

 

Instead of working on binding,

on staying,

You are only brittle.

Breaking as you breathe.

 

A million pieces tossed to the wind with a bruised hand.

 

I wish I could be gentle with you.

With your blackened feet

your muted, dusty tongue.

 

If I was honest

I would ask you

how many miles,

how many yellowed skies

how many sticky, severed suns you have counted.

 

And how much pressure you used

to make sure you walked ten thousand steps more

on strong and steel toes.

hitchhiking from lovelock

 
 

Josie Griffith

Josie Griffith is a recent graduate from Northern Arizona University. She is currently working on a series of continual and chaotic writing projects. She lives in Baltimore.
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