Ria Chaudhary & Sunny Lu

the lights were off when she woke up. 

the room was cast in shades of grey,

the letters in front of her ran together. 


her coat hung heavy on the back of the seat,

her breath hung for a moment in the air. 


she looked up

mosaic ceilings that she had seen for years

and she couldn’t remember where the light was meant to come from. 


coat on, book closed, bag away. 

don’t make too much noise,

the silence hangs thickly. 


walk through the hall,

sepia and brown,

try not to slip on linoleum floors,

think in muted colors. 


the light refuses to change as she opens the door. 

black and white and tan and sepia and colorless,

unlit streetlamps. 


seventeen years on the same street

seventeen years of memories

and she cannot remember how it is meant to look. 


step forward, keep moving, 

the air is thick and wants you to sit. 


she falls in step with the columns on the row,

with the asphalt,

the familiarity of an overcast sky. 


maybe next time she wakes up


the lights will be on.