“…Because you will so easily disappear,
I think of you as infinitely near.”
~ Farnoosh Fathi

They threw themselves at porch lights: hundreds of winged bodies swarming each lit window screen. You’d think the frame was covered with cellophane.

Underneath, we lay plastic basins filled with water: rippled mirrors where sheer wings caught, oceans where they drowned.

We looked for her at every bus station in town, my father asking each conductor if he had seen a woman with bobbed hair, narrow waist sheathed in an A-line dress.

Hours later, despondent, we returned home. My father paid the cab driver without saying a word. What did they fight about, I wondered. Inside, the laundrywoman gestured toward the linen closet: Don’t say I told; your mother has been hiding there.

Dense cover of fog tonight. We cannot see the moon as it swings lower toward us. It would have raised its face like a giant taiko drum above the horizon.

Tomorrow it will be close, but not this close. The night is busy with activity. When was the last time you were held or kissed? We don’t see the insects excavating holes in trees, in the soil around our feet.

He saw her not too long ago in the lobby of a public space. Strains of music poured through some open door. She was with some other people he knew but didn’t really know.

He thought she hesitated, but she came up to him and pressed his hand while saying something ordinary: How are you? Are you enjoying the evening?

There was a portrait in the lobby, a reproduction: a woman with a thorn necklace and a hummingbird for a pendant. Even in the copy, her recognition of emphatic solitude is apparent. How she gazes outward at the world without rancor, with sadness; but always, with passion.


In response to The Morning Porch and Sparrow.

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