Marked by the moon, your cheek provides canvas--as the distant light hurriedly dispatches across millions of empty, meaningless miles, evading innumerable obstacles and potential respites for the improbable prospect of finding its purpose in your smile. A fair illumination, despite Romeo's envious satellite, the light draws just attention--not just draws attention--both to your highlighted beauty as well as your presence beyond the rays.

You are here. Like the sun is here--in reflection, in spirit.

A hand transgresses the darkness--as casually as the light is swift--lifting the beam from your face and with it the burden of perception. Notice the difference and ask the question. Take to heart what only you know is the answer. Contrast the hand with your vanished smile, with what is no longer made "object" by a gaze, with the intentions of 10,000 ignorant veils.

Realize, then, that the hand is mine.

Reaching through the tired light toward your cheek, gently gliding as the fingers brush your skin, feeling the intensity of your smile and the clarity of your comfort and the softness of your character, the hand stalls at your lips--stationary but for the pulse, a moment of hesitation, of self-doubt, of "what if," of "what not," of "why not," of "who cares," of reaffirmation. But the time is too great. And its greatness too fleeting. And the light intensifies--painless but bright--until white pervades the spectrum and makes absence the rule.


Persuaded by the sun, two eyes hesitantly open. Reluctant to acknowledge what the mind has already concluded, a hand reaches out. And where your smile once teased the light into action, a palm finds a pillow--cold to the touch. In the wake of your absence, the hand recoils slightly, feeling foolish and excited and anxious and, among other emotions, everything else.

You were there. Like the light was there--in conception, in love.

But the light remains and with it the "burden" of reality--of realizing that the attainable comes from, not with, the ability to attain, of accepting, not expecting, defeat only if it is just and only if it is real, of running toward life instead of away from death.

There is something to be said about the light. It is actual. It has potential. It is persistent.

The hand guides the body to its back then to its opposite side, away from the pillow. Two eyes blink into focus, fixated. They look beyond the immediate, perceiving the possible:

"Good morning," she says.

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