We marked the deaths on a map in little black tallies,
every day we counted the numbers and they had come to a strong incline.
You sat in the dust by the flames
playing with a cattail
and you asked me
“When will it be over?”
The smoke drifted into open sky above us and I tried to count the stars.
The map was held together by rivers and
And we were held together by a commonplace drive:
The poem in your eyes had no backbone and it was falling apart at the seams and it made you
The map is held together by little black tallies on the edges from an old charcoal pencil.
And we are held together by a thread of life that could very well be
Alas, that is out of our reach but we must remember to always
fight! and to stay alive
please keep holding on
Because home awaits with open arms and we are here counting stars and
we must never die.
The mayor warned when we came home to
never leave again
never go again
and I do not understand because
we couldn’t stop that
and you told me that I understand
and that he doesn’t.
Mother looked at me and my scars
and told me to go
and told me that I shouldn’t be home.
And we found a lake from the map marked with a charcoal pencil and stayed there
and you fished
and I found berries.
Every night we counted the stars and
we were connected by constellations.
Every night we were connected by the grass beneath us
pricking the backs of our necks
and we caught the flying stars
and we were connected by constellations.
The notes of the piano rang in open air across the lake
how far can the notes stretch to connect us?
As the lake grew, constellations stretched
and we never knew what color your eyes were.
Blinded by the bright light from the upcoming sun,
we both ran for cover, turning our backs on each other for the first time in
The thick trees hid us from the light well enough, but
We kept running.
The sun was catching up
and we ran for everything we could live for.
I ran for you and you ran for me.
That’s all we could do until you laid on the ground,
You stopped running so I did too and we both were hungry for what we could’ve had.
When we were still in the war, they let you bring one thing from home.
You brought the idea of hope
and I brought the idea of music
and we mixed together very well.
The nights when we counted stars under the full moon
were the nights when we’d fall asleep with our arms touching.
(A sign that people are alive.)
The dust woke us up when it blew in our open mouths,
and in a shallow breath the tiny things landed on our tongues, woke us up, and
made our eyes cry.
“When do you know to go home?”
I ask myself this a lot because I know that there is no answer.
Human beings like to ask themselves things without answers and then get angry that there is no answer.
Because only they know when they put you back home.
You and I were lucky because we only had a little time in that hell,
but the others weren’t.
The little black tallies from the charcoal pencil weren’t because they
The light woke us up and we knew we had to run
It landed upon our eyelids and woke us up and made us cry.
I think of you as I am running and my bare feet
across the dirt.
I think of you because your hair always was full of the stuff and now all it does is make me cry.
I think we are running along the line on one of your maps.
I think our feet are creating the dark brown streaks on the paper with the little black tallies on them.
And I think that we will never find out
the color of your eyes.
We run back to back for a while
until the light stops us and we hide beneath the tree’s leaves.
I am hungry for our arms to be touching again.
I am hungry to count stars with you and the place we did that was the war,
so could you say that
I am hungry for the war?
I am not hungry for the charcoal pencil,
but I am hungry for the hand that touched it.
I am not hungry for the dirt,
but I am hungry for the person who would lay in it carelessly.
I am hungry for the map so I can see the dark brown veins running across it with bare feet
the dark brown surface of it.
I am hungry to breathe in the commonplace drive that pushed us along the dark brown lines and out of
And I am hungry for the idea that once was.
That is no longer existent when I am not with you
which is a side effect of
that I did not know about.
I would welcome any side effects that came with you with open arms, of course, because I would still have
I merely did not know about that one, but I am sad to see the idea go.
I wish you the best in all your journeys.
I wish to hear the beat of your heart against the crickets again,
but now I am afraid that the light has caught up with me
and I am afraid that
we will never find out what color my eyes are.
I wish you the best in running from the light
but remember that the without light there would be no darkness.
I am sorry to have to tell you that the dust will settle in the rocks and that
the maps have been burned.
The tallies have turned blacker than ever before.
The tallies have turned into ash from the bright flames.
The maps have fallen asleep in the glow of the flames and that
has been taken by the wind.
It ran with it, and I tried to catch it, but the wind cannot be caught.
Remember the first breath of the war you took when you stepped outside into the
of the day and remember the glow of the flames.
Remember that people are still living
(Remember that our arms touched on the nights we counted stars)
and remember the constellations that connected us.
I am not sorry to tell you, however, that no matter how far constellations can be stretched,
constellations never can be broken.
They can stretch to heaven and hell and earth and the sky and the dust and to the war
But they will never shatter
because constellations are images the mind has created.
Constellations are made by the mind and stars are tangible.
Constellations connect stars.
We are stars and we all burn in our own flames.
The words from your charcoal pencil make me cry.
I cannot ever count the stars without you
and I cannot ever write poetry in the dust without you.
Your words make me cry and I run
I don’t try to compete with the light because I know we’ve been running with our backs to each other for the
The wind trips me and it’s fingers comb through my hair on the way down.
dust from the ground tickles my tongue and the wind left something in my brain.
has been taken by the wind.
“Are you the dust, now?”
I feel your thumb across my cheekbone and I am
for what we could’ve had.
“Are you the wind, now?”
I feel your hand in mine and you lift me to my feet.
My face is dark brown covered with dust
but as I run the wind cleans it off.
“I have never been so tired,” I tell you.
I am so hungry for you.
I am starving
and I am sick with what we could’ve had.