+8

if i walk down london’s streets to 
the ticking of the kitchen clocks—
rows of billowing steam from
stews and curries that do not remind me
of home—
i could almost traverse these eight hours, a 
second and a step at a time, 
outpacing the sun that stretches my shadow, 
undulating against the cobbled mews. 

i adore the way you speak my name—the hook 
of your tongue reels me back from everything ugly, 
crushing my mental map of loss. 
i am named for the millionth time, 
but beckoned for the first.
so i keep walking, addicted, faster than the 
ancient tempo of seconds, 

fast enough to escape the trawler of reason,

begging time to let me catch you at the end of my 
afternoon shadow. 

yet the line in greenwich is stubbornly still, 
itself a blade welded by visits of the sun, 
carving up the temporalities that 
melt away within these same four walls.
a playground of conversation—childlike fun until 
you yawn and say good night and 
blow me a kiss i wish the wifi would let lag. 

i don’t lose, my dear, i can’t, not to time nor space, 

so that’s why i rush home, wrestling the hands of the clock,
where i eat warm rice and xo sauce until 
i’m no longer starved of the illumination of my screen. 
until i forget that i am just like that paper-thin iris 
i plucked and hairsprayed from your bouquet,

in a dark room, 
leaning into that fluttering glow,
praying it’s not bloomberg news 
and that the connection is just bad today.

clean sheets in january

my clean sheets, baptised,
stale and clawed by the january frost,
draping like a helium balloon days after
the party lights have dimmed.
my pillowcase smells not of breathless kisses, my
duvet tangled not by wrestling feet. the unknowable
warmth of the friction between our skin—its promise
leaks into the atmosphere with winter mist that clears.
we share nightmares

through a screen, but tuck the glow of our dreams,
tenderly, in the gaze we share when our foreheads touch. my father
once compared flower petals to hands held,
and i see it now in our alternating fingers—yours, mine,
yours then mine, yours, mine, and yours—
locked together by thumbs tracing
alphabets we have yet to teach each other.
it was nice having something to lose and something to learn.

where were our hands before we knew to
hold them this way, before we ever met?
yours, embossed by maroon grains of the track that paved your glory.
mine, coughing up another polite email that wishes well weekends.
yours, gripping a steering wheel when you drove away from a girl you loved and
mine, down my throat after a wednesday night i don’t remember.
that they found each other was a miracle, dearest,

despite the episodes unwatched, the skyline
dinners uneaten, your cheeky dog not walked. i stroke
the pixels of your cheek, the same one i kissed good night for the last time while
shredding any residue of logic. my parched lips are drained of their
rosy tint you so loved, scaly under the desert moonshine. its
cold nights tell me i should have lingered

on your chest a little longer—now i only get warmth from the sun,
its rays a faint gleam next to the beams of your smile. the one
we joked would make you a qualified dentist. we joked about the freefall too,
wagering flights and fragments, because we needed humour to forget how were always teetering
on the edge of something, darling,

like beggars dreaming of manhattan lofts,

and my mistake was simple.
the mountains i begged to make me feel small—
i never asked to make me happy.