I.
You are not obliged
to smile at everyone you see,
or to offer your pleasant fragrance
to those who give you thorns.

You do not need
to give everybody breath.
Your design does not include
an ultimate life-support mechanism.
(Although sometimes I think air
feels lighter around you.)

You are not
the Sun. You cannot keep promises
as wordless and sincere as daylight,
the skies exhaust you.
Your light burns out.
Your ashes pile up.

But there is a gift in all things temporary.

You bring the warmth of fire,
the safety of torch lights,
the quiet flame of a candle, and the comfort
of sitting by the hearth in winter.

You are moonlight.
Sometimes you wax, and you wane,
sometimes you are whole,
other times you don’t shine at all;
but when you do, know that
you form a path on rippled water
and break the sound of devouring darkness.

II.
Don’t smile when you don’t want to.
I’ll smile for you.

I will be the tweezers that pull out the thorns,
and the antiseptic that washes your cuts.
I come with a little sting.
I’m sorry.

When you need breath, I will give you
mine. The insides of my lungs,
and the walls of my chest cavity, are etched
with the initials of your name.
This is how I carry on.

And when you are exhausted of daylight,
I will be your night. I will douse the Sun,
let not light touch you until you tell me
you’ve healed. It’s alright.
I’ll bear the darkness with you.

Lastly,

I will be the earth that holds your ashes.
Life will sprout from our remains.
I like the thought of bearing
the roots that will carry you on forever—
but if one day you decide that
carrying on
is a heavy burden,
I will not oppose.
Let me be the clay jar that serves as
your sepulcher, and the earth
can bury us both.

10.10.13

The day after you showed me how to tie a noose, I tried making one myself.

The silk burned my fingers; the flowers of which you named to me
sowed themselves quietly 
within the parched gardens of my mind;
they decided to last the winter,
and in spring, only to wither.

When the hills collapsed
and I was swept along with the landslide,
you dusted seeds of acacia on the earth that buried me.
I was drowning, but you told me to love the dirt that devoured—
and to be patient, to let life spring from the raw mess I’ve made

all my life. I open my mouth to laugh, 
but the dust only serves to suffocate;
a fire set unto the caverns of my mouth,
the hollow throat, and down the empty chest
where the drone of the heart beats, alive, but not living,
gasping, desperate, tired, and whispering:
hang on, hang on, hang on.

(Through the cracks of the earth
and within every fiber of the silk,
I thought I saw a gentle similarity between us:

that we were the faults in each other’s cliffs,
love bent us over each other’s gardens
to take away our Sun,
 and leave our fields flowerless.)