The truth is

I am tired of learning the many names
of the sky, stretching out
into the infinite. I am tired

of the way rainy days seem to lean in
on our tiny bodies, heavy and wanting
in a magnitude that escapes explanation. I could tell you

how the color gray means sadness and sometimes silence,
but would that matter now? You have chosen to believe me a liar.
Today it chose to mean the shade of a memory

I am convinced is a dream: a towering city
closing in on its walls. We are in there somewhere,
figments of ourselves, voiceless but kinder

in the way that we chose to hold on
to each other, a pair of hands no less unsure,
no less lost. I conjure that memory

even if it has turned its back on me,
its face veiled, its feet walking away
in haste; its body expanding onwards

into something vast and no longer mine,
unfolding like an old map patterned to the edges
of the sky. Soft and blue with wisps of wind

and clouds painted in strokes that seem to say Hurry,
here is where you need to go. Here is where you find
the answer you were looking for.

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I’ve said it far too often –

how one day we will be nothing more than bits and pieces
of dust, scattered in the expansive floor of space: wafting

without direction. No heads for looking back, no hearts for beating
syllables of tired regrets or flurries of happiness. The sky above is witness

to these things: the disappearance of skeletons, the slow erosion
of these vessels that cage sadness. Indistinct and no longer weighed down

by memories, the remains of our bodies will swim in a vast, waterless sea
with nothing to remind us of how things other than water (like desire scraping

at our insides, aching with the immediacy of open wounds) can also drown
our bodies. This is the beauty of passing, of turning

into the past – to be as spread out and distant as the brightest of stars,
no longer yearning the nearness between bodies:

and for the last time I will tell you: we are running out of time
to claim this closeness while we still can.

Ophicius

When I think of being forgotten I think of you,
bright bearer of holy serpents. How does it feel

to have your body wrenched from shining
with your twelve brothers, sisters, lover –

by the fickle makings of human memory? Legend speaks
of how you were cast into the night sky just for looking

at the plaintive motions of a snake who dared reclaim its lover
from the fields of the dead, offering the sweetest of herbs,

causing its deadened mate to slither again
into life, its tongue hissing the secrets of death.

Secrets – your attentive ears so easily captured in their eagerness,
your hands furiously concocting the potion intended to save men

from death. Yet all your work was spurned by the gods, unwilling
to permit the existence of anything that spelled an end

to their whims, to their hold on the human body. So you were struck
with the whitest light from heaven, a needle that turned your bones

into stars, stuck you into the blanket of sky. Your only consolation
was that you could look over the people you wanted to relieve

from the coils of their mortality, their heads bobbing like pins
in the distant earth below. And just when you had accepted

your fate – nestled your head into your tiny spot in the universe,
when even the gods who cursed you had turned to stars, voiceless

in their twinkling – those tiny people you had lovingly watched over
all these years decide that now you no longer have a place

among the zodiac. How does it feel to betrayed? Knowing
how you are nothing more than clumped bits of dying light.

The sky is falling

The end of the world was at hand and already my friends had succeeded in killing the gods. We ate their hearts and wore their flesh, taking into ourselves their aged powers (half-potent, but power nonetheless) and soon we were shooting arrows at the stars, our mouths were like black holes, drawing the luminous bodies down with booming voices. One by one they fell, scorching the crust of the earth, dividing the oceans like a torn blanket sheared by a child’s scissors. And the angels, they wept – sadder for themselves than anything else, now having no gods to obey, no orders to carry out, having known nothing else but belief – their wings dull, their skin muddied from lamentation. They gnashed their silver teeth and cried like floating rags in the night sky. Down below, believers prayed for salvation to their deadened gods. We felled their altars and churches so they took to forming temples from mounds of soil, whispering their prayers as they built the walls.

Look, my friend says, pointing to the sky.
It is empty, now – we have destroyed the stars.
Now, no one will see reason to believe in the past.

His face lights up, victorious for the end; but I say No, there is still the moon, aiming my arrow at the smiling crescent, the last sliver of heaven.