Mar 25
poem challenge: Flash

imprint

The day I arrived in your home that summer, your mother broke our tradition.
You were left alone in the bed that had held us for our entire lives. The mattress on the floor was only close enough for me to touch your hair, which was soft, so soft. Warm in the morning, before you woke, as I left for the airport. You asked, angrily, while I was boarding, why I didn't wake you.

I think it was because you were in a way I had forgotten in my turmoil. Peace, purity. I felt in that moment we were kids again. The photograph of us asleep, as the train whistles sounded in the city, faces rosy with gentle heat and exhaustion. A long day of playing, lost in worlds we created together. 

The carpeted halls absorbed me, and I breathed in your room one last time before gathering my things.
Vanilla and coffee, fresh laundry, rubber from the baseball practice at the arcade, your soccer uniform, chlorine from the pool, your hair gel. I listened harder, and found myself, underneath, woven in sneaking tendrils: jasmine perfume and citrus deodorant, bruised grass, blood, rice pudding and cigarettes, grease from the bike chains. 

I carded my fingers through your hair, kneeling by the bed. You were hanging off the edge, with your arm outstretched. When I woke earlier, I found my hand against yours, as if we had reached out to one another in the night, unconsciously. 
I left to the car.

The pristine wind broke my heady sleepiness, filling my aching chest with whispers of autumn. Sleepy suburban homes sitting neatly on manicured lawns looked deserted against the slowly lightening sky. The streetlights were still on. If I looked behind me, I know I'd find your shoes on the lawn where you left them when we ran inside for orange juice after the trampoline broke again, and you laughed so hard you started to cry.