A Silent Study of Tired Things
I watch them migrate across your convex mirror,
dark silhouettes behind frosted glass that tell
a story of a lock, a hardened thing
submerged under its own skin,
filled with ventricles of pins,
tumblers, and the curdled remains of daylight.
A story changes from
your worn hands to mine, still smelling
of ginger and sea salt.
It is wet with truths that evaporate
too quickly, like when you said
things will go on.
I did not believe you. I
try to spool out what I mean, what
I mean to mean, but it comes out
like crowded teeth.
I spend my hours searching
for polyester hopes in
silent places. I’m told
truth is hard and clear like acrylic.
It lives amongst the wreckage
of an old hungry dream
so we can read the stenciled texture of the self.
The confessional ballasted by
scar tissue. Will I turn to speak?
You smile, the corners of your mouth an apology.
My words graze idly
in the stillness of my hands and I try
to think of that story, the way it lingers in folds of skin,
the acrid smell of burnt-out love,
my mother’s voice
enunciating its lived-in truth, to just hold on,
but it recedes into the haze of an old mirror
where even the shape of its absence is lost.
Justin Aoba lives and writes in New York City.