by Katherine Hu
Art by Jennifer Xu
Issue: Serein (Summer 2016)

On days like this, I remember her—
through two distanced sheets of glass, blushing from the cold,
and the muffled weeping of the velvet sky,
my longing eyes would trace
the intoxicating melody of her steps.

A secret, one-sided, giddy dalliance
that blossomed every winter upon her return,
her eyes watered with disappointment,
but her lissome figure rippling and gliding and soaring,
like gossamer,
with the timeless glow of determination.

So whenever that lithe silhouette
graced the rectangular frame
of those silent looking-glass windows,
twirling, spiraling around, and around, and around
I felt slip away
the stubborn languor of my own
mind and body and soul.

The whisper of her fervent steps
slipped me gay, thrilling promises
in which I unlocked the courage
to grasp gently the pink fingers of my own desires:
so I could still the voices that riled me
so I could erase the faces that mocked me
so I could grip the treasures that enticed me.

And while outside gazes offered childish contempt
for the beating hearts I had silenced,
and mercilessly deemed me mad
for my red-stained hands,
the honeyed lyrics of her private performances
would lull my fury in feathery, gentle strokes, and
soothe me in an ethereal embrace.

On days like this, I remember the day we met at last—
marked by the long-awaited incarnation of my wants,
that lovely, biting cold against my cheek,
pressed against the translucent walls
of my silent looking-glass windows
as I waited to catch a glimpse
of her sweet, tantalizing face.

She had returned late that winter
with a gaze dry and bright, one that had
left behind disappointment,
and instead swam with obnoxious glimmers of pride,
thus I understood the conditions of our ephemeral love.

So I bypassed those two veils that hid my face,
and as my naked eyes came to a rest upon her pretty,
startled face, an elysian sight,
for the first time without those invisible barriers,
she parted her pink lips to let flow
a mellifluous voice I could only imagine.

I act quickly, and curl my wine-tinted fingers
Around her smooth, white neck
And with everything she taught me
I close a firm grip around my desires

I lay her slim figure against the wall,
place it in the slivers of light
that stream into the room.
She is in the center of my frame, and
I smile.
She is where she belongs.

A silhouetted figure is obscured by haze.