Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.
– William Shakespeare.
I breathe on the window and my breath condenses. I step away, and the foggy film shrinks back on itself. The glass remains unchanged. I can see the street again, and the marmalade light of the lamp shining on a gray-haired woman hastily tying up her boot before putting her arm through the arm of a gray-haired man. They walk out of sight, past the old cemetary behind whose concrete, Soviet-era fence starving worms burrow through tree-roots in the rapidly cooling soil. Winter is coming.
When I’m alone without you at night, I make up my own lullabies. I imagine myself in a shoulder-wide canoe, embraced and closed in on all sides, running along in the blood-warm river of sleep. The hilt of my invisible sword is cool against my abdomen. Soon the water will thunder down and take me with it and then, only then, will I be asleep.
When I am awake without you in the day, I touch my skin in the absence of your touch. I am bones and fat and muscle, capillaries and veins, jelly and joints – and I love you. Who has wrought this contradiction? Nature or God? Neither or both? When the eyelashes that have fluttered against your cheek fall to dust, when the voice that quoted boring books for you and begged you to pick up your goddamn socks dies and dissloves along with the slackened vocal chords that produced it – the soundwaves getting farther and farther into the uninhabited reaches of space, what should happen to that which we have tended? Will it still grow and flower somewhere, in spite of the battering of interstellar winds and all?
When we were born, a raven was circling the hospital. Under the warm black wing, stars were scattered, bright and still (full fathom high the raven flies, out of its feathers we are made, those are stars that are our eyes). It plucked the worm like a musical string.
Or so I dreamed, anyway. When I’m without you, my dreams become stranger and stranger.
I breathe on the window and write your name.