Night. End of day. Trudging home. Thanking warm light welcoming from my window.
This winter had clawed itself through my chest.
Its fingers cracking rib.
I hadn’t felt warm in so long.
Night. Smelt of wood fires. Someone was waiting for me.
He sat, smoking, outside my door, called ‘Habibi!’
I felt home in a word I could not translate.
He was my neighbour.
Came up most nights, we’d smoke together.
He’d talk of Lebanon.
Spoke as if commanding a VAST CROWD
in my one bedroom unit,
Laughed hardest at his own jokes,
Told the same stories at least three times,
But you never really minded.
We’d both had a rough year.
We embraced. Stood in my doorway, caught between the glow of carpeted comfort,
And a nicotine addiction.
There was becoming no need for façade.
No immediate glaze over heart
As with strangers.
His sun voice, it knew the desert. Knew how to melt.
So I told him I was tired.
That I was carrying another’s body in my chest
and felt my graveyard running out of space.
‘I never meant to break anyone’ I ached. ‘I’m so sorry’.
I ached that I never meant to break anyone, I was sorry.
My neighbour listened.
There was no traffic on the street, there was no breeze.
I looked up at him in pause, expecting softness.
I met the desert.
I had forgotten.
My neighbour had been to war.
KNEW death, a toxic lover whose moans I’d barely heard an echo of.
The last thing he needed to learn from me, was how to break.
His sun voice shone righteous at me,
‘Look around you! Won’t you look at all this! Look, wont you?!’
This graveyard in your chest
Is a playground.
he hoped that when I touched the sand it would turn to gold.
Because for me,