How can it be, when I see you my heart expands like a sponge grown wet and thick from absorbing too much?
I want to touch your face and see the future.
I want to stand next to you, cheek to cheek.
Feel the scruff of your stubble scrape my smooth skin.
You are ageing, friend.
Life has taken its toll on your body.
You are not as young as you once were. Fine lines are appearing on your forehead.
You are being dulled,
your eyes are not as bright.
But still, my hopes bloom inside you.
Can I be enough to bring back to life?
Let me desire you.
Let me caress your head in my hands.
I will be gentle, for a whole word resides within them.
Let me press my lips firstly to your tired forehead, and take away the weariness.
And then, let me press my lips against yours.
Will it energise you, to feel me?
Will the flesh and blood of another awaken you?
I am hot inside.
My blood is thick and full of life.
It sputters and courses inside my veins. I am burning.
If I touch you, I will feel your emptiness.
You are like a ghost, you are wasting away.
Like fine dust being swept away by the wind,
you are made of sand. Even as I hold you, you are disappearing.
My tongue probes your mouth, hoping to find it wet and deep.
Instead I find it listless. No life can grow here.
You are the vessel that holds my heart.
I feel it beating within you, full of hope,
but it is encased in an empty shell.
You have so much potential, darling.
I wish I knew you when you were a boy, becoming a man.
You must have been something, then!
I imagine you, vibrant,
powerful and tough,
a bull, a fighter.
What did life do to you, to subdue you?
What it does to everyone, I suppose—
hurt you, tired you.
Please don’t give up.
I see you as a man who has the weight of the world on his shoulders.
I want to ease the loneliness in your bones.
But you cannot see me.
Your mind is consumed with memories of the past and worries of the future.
Can you see how precious the present can be?
I see the dreams of a future turn to ashes.
You once had flames licking at your heels, urging you to run ahead.
Now those flames have turned to embers.
They can still be lit. We can walk, hand in hand,
I will give you a torch, burning with the fire of my youth,
and you can light those ashes once again.
We can stand together and laugh, warmed by the fire,
but still, you walk away.
I stand before you, but you do not see me.
A life drifts by,
that is all.
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Editor: Emily Bartran
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