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Don’t, Warning said. Stop
looking at me that way.
Above her there was an orange haze
in the sorrow black sky.
The roof at her feet,
the sidewalks beneath,
the pale, watery street light
was all grey. It was so hard
not to look at him. In what way?
Inhale. Exhale. She tried to hide
inside of her lungs, where she knew
it was warm and her rattling heart
was simply a rowdy, inconsiderate neighbor.
There’s a version of me
resting inside of you. I,
I can see it. He clenched his fists,
leaned forward to inspect her. But your eyes
are not mirrors. They don’t reflect,
they build. They nail me in
a coffin made of your hope. Where
I would be happy to die,
if death was as easy as suffocating
on your own nobility.
But I’ve been watching.
The tips of her fingers pressed
into the numb, useless muscle
of her arms. She wasn’t really there.
She was mist, and there was nothing,
nothing for her to hold. I’ve been
watching you for so long.
I know you better than
I’m not selfless. I’m not
kind. I’m not. I’m not
going to save you. I can’t
love you the way Wolfram does.
Heavy, that name was so heavy.
It weighed her down. She coalesced
around the love she’d taken
for granted, and used, and broke.
And every night he’s with me
I know I’m his consolation.
Warning’s voice cracked. The maw
inside of it was dark.
They both stumbled. But
he knows exactly what he’s settled for.
You don’t have any idea
who you desire.
You, she said.
The atmosphere stretched
thin across the roof.
Because you can’t have one.
You have to take both.
And the infinite men
pressed between them.