How have you been?
Somewhere someone has ceased being, and yet, here I am.
A teething of language and anxiety. To remember I am not
the you that has died, I tell myself, “I am mine.”
Do you remember the fireflies?
They were proof of joy. Bioluminescence as a beginning.
I remember a young girl crushed them to her skin and, in
a moment of golden brilliance, disappeared.
Did you hear about your aunt?
She became the moon in the river. A pale reflection of
every sadness. When I cupped her in my hands, I lifted
from the water a shattering of glass.
When did we visit?
In his eighties, he realizes each year has become such a
small fraction of his life. Words like dominoes tipping.
“Detroit,” he says as if time was inside the firmness of place.
How old is she now?
We assigned her our age with the addendum of infinity. A
texture of youth. We all remember the movie that taught us
some things never die.
When did we learn prudence?
She was just another name. Puckered lips and teeth in that
order. She used to make us laugh as we climbed the diamonds
in chain-link fences.
When was the last time you wrote?
Words hold permanence to her. A binding of her being to
fragile items. She almost says now, but that’s not the story
she wants to tell.
Do you still play?
We stepped on dead grass knowing it was dead. In the fall,
not a spot of green. We shared a single burn and carried it
across the sky like the passing of days.
What is the weight of color?
It’s a memory of a departure. A density of feeling that has
formed a ball at the back of my mouth. I find red cotton tufts
in my hand when clearing my throat.
Is it like the sound of rain?
She will never be able to hold it to the sun. A mother’s dream
for her children. Shackled by the weight of bones, she found
freedom dripping from loss.
Evan Burkin (he/him) is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. His work has been published or is forthcoming in THRUSH, Birdcoat Quarterly, The Madrigal, Sur, Inklette, Ayaskala, Rain Taxi, and elsewhere.