do not cry, she tells herself,
it is not allowed,
crying is not supposed to happen.
do not say it,
do not write their names.
the last thing they want is the closure it would bring.
all she wants is to be held, no, to be the one holding;
to fit perfectly because she chooses to,
not because she was expected to.
as she starts to fade, she almost understands.
for just a moment, it’s
a flash of blue-black feathers,
a light kiss,
a hand at her waist-
trembling streaks paint their way over the inside of her arm
and are seeping down into her veins.
her voice explodes.
she’s back on the pier, looking down into the waves
and she can smell the sewage and salt
and the far-away smells of the city.
she can feel the tiny streams of
dirty seawater on her cheeks, even tonight.
angels are humming her to sleep,
sending her off to the most
peaceful place she knows.
she hates the memories,
hates the distant sounds of what once was a lullaby, and
she hates the angels.