Every train I’ve ever run for has left me &

still, I find myself gripping my straps

& pounding pavement, waving down whoever’s

evening blurs behind the power lines & purpling

clouds. I do not wish loneliness of any kind 

upon anybody, but I’d take it 

in its truest form. 

I’ve leaned, sleepdrunk,

against the change machine praying for one

midnight of no one. 

Stood taut next to lingering hands 

& too-close cigarette breath. Lied on my age,

laughed away a missed stop, centered my gravity 

before the right jolt plops me into the wrong lap;

everyone’s got ghosts at home, don’t they? 

Some trail us from the station first. 

A flickering lamp has never caused me to question 

my shadow, but a glance’ll get me sick 

at the sight of me. 

I’ve wished my existence into

the blue seats, that indigo hour of anything 

goes. I’ve stilled myself so streetlight

I couldn’t release my breath until morning. 

I do not wish loneliness of any kind

upon anybody, but show me that someone 

without someone they can’t shake. 

Show me their stop & I’ll show you the longest way home,

every back alley exit where I bounced

my name off the brick 

& dodged the echo.

The Kiss of an If

sweet vermilion of eager lips; all sunset-hot, the sweat 

without promise & drop-jaw glance, oh, the dance 

of it all— I’d risk me, too. its capital T thrill, how it

vibrates, chills, wouldn’t you? if you could almost—just,

the not-quite next to, the never inside enough,

the glistening neck like morning dew, like a midnight

stroll buzzing from the tip of your toes, even

if it meant your aching heels the morning back,

wouldn’t you? the wait, the snap & spark, the frisk

of your feet under the dinner table, when your eyes

flutter shut, when you water your plants

in the windowsill with a little more wind chime

in your whisper: the whisper you save for soft things

like newborns & dandelions & the turn of your

cheek towards her when the day breaks, wouldn’t you?

if she called you by all of your names? if it meant

the last time you could inhale without a hitch, that

strip of light of the skyline growing dimmer

by day—if it meant the possibility of? the no more

& never again, the reach & retreat, the sinking

in your stomach, this here, this senseless back

& forth, the onslaught of afternoons without

my chin in your hands, our joined breaths

after a joke; even if it meant the absence of me,

wouldn’t you? let even the trail of her finger ruin us?

Aris Kian
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