A hurt that moves beyond crying or a love beyond touch,
maybe a song beyond sound. But I can swallow it;
I can feel the sound of your remnants of breathing down
in my mouth—thousands of days and cherry blossom seasons later,
thousands of rail rides and rail derailments later. Tell me,
are we somewhat the lonely lords of our own sad lives?
I made the church; I made the steeple, but where are all the people?
No, I don’t care where all the people have gone.
But friend, where are you? I look for you in the sheets
of gray haze and cooling rain. In rain, the sycamore leaves
look like thick silk. In rain, I am a wet ghost of remember
you were dear to me. A wet ghost of your
I hope you don’t mind me holding your hand.
No, no. Or, is that what I said? It was something
that made you become even kinder to me. It was something
that led to your Let me take you down so hard your lung and heart
will be so bruised, they will forever only know how to feel
the song of my name, the sound of my body.
But again, I didn’t mind. Our bodies, our skin,
must have been creations for one another, for different worlds
and different heartbreaking reasons. The beautifully ragged,
red brick cigar shops beside Afghani and Pakistani groceries
feel like places you could return from any minute,
carrying a fresh paper bag wavering in the wind like you
are carrying a bag of wounds and ecstatic wanting.
And so, I inhale all their smoke and rice. Even the lamb’s blood
from the butcher’s knifing to a sitar and synth-trance,
I inhale along with the misty dreaming of you.
I swear, sometimes the world is so beautiful to me,
only I would have known how to dream it into existence
because this world has everything to do with my love
and wrecking for you. Yes, it must be, this world I am in
must have been created from my own lonely heart—
a longing charging the battery and water of memory.
Or, whatever was there when the first world was made—
first of gardens, first from an abandoned Lord’s hopes
and dreams to be wanted. I am not saying we know what it is
to be the Lord on the most high. But I believe most know what it is
to be called out to, and to answer. Or, to not answer, but take part
in the weeping somewhere or in everyplace all at once,
under stars and within the skin of scars.
Trina Askin resides in Virginia. Her poetry has appeared in PANK, Pleiades, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Hopper Review, Qu, Anti-Heroin Chic, and elsewhere.