You fell asleep with your back to me. Fists in your hair.
Shaking in the warmth between our bodies.
Your eyes burned pavement into rivers, and during summer
you licked up the lake and let your stomach ice over. Grey as cavalries
of charging storm clouds, and when you rained, you rained
with a knife to your wrists and an open cut of a mouth.
You, in the mornings. Setting fire to your fingertips.
Tinder-skin and witch-hunt-torched ribs
and you told me the furnace was starving, look how thin
the flames were when they danced. You could see every bone.
Are you still measured in centuries of Celsius?
Your mother ran out of candles, you said, and used you as a wick
to light her empty house. That was how you learned the seasons,
repeat after me, I burn better than wax, it’s my job to hoard winter.
I was the one to bring you water in the dark.
You drank from my cup and left me a dust-bowl, flailing sand
and water-lines, and I couldn’t quench you, couldn’t put you out.
The alarm made you thirstier, and sunrise caught you crawling to the sink.
And when you fell asleep that night, back to me and fists in your hair,
I couldn’t help but roll closer, and breathe in time to the off-beat train tracks
of your veins. It was the only time you gave back the oceans you stole.
Samara Wolpe is a 19-year-old student at UC Santa Cruz. She writes poetry, fiction and articles and has been published in Linden Avenue Literary Journal, The Write Place at the Write Time, and The Huffington Post.