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You’re asleep, and I hear the mattress
groan as it stretches sleep out its
anatomy and sandman’s dust from its eyes.
The room is dark,
and the only light that smoulders is my
orb-like gaze as I count the lines on
your skin. I lie perfectly still, and my breath
is deep. I wish to wake you, to tell you

But, as I lay here, staring into your flesh,
I know I couldn’t accurately form words for your
wakeful mind that describe the story I want to
narrate, irate I wait for morning to pull you
into consciousness.

There is an apprehension that
guards me, swathes me in a protective layer
of skin. We are perceptively divided;
I can feel the heat of your skin on mine. Two
distinct, fragmented bodies, aching to entwine,
knotted into one, but we are forever discrete
bodies, celestial spheres divided
by an infinite

I want to ask you if you’ve seen the other
side, too? If you can read pain in the lines of
faces, and if you can see the love someone needs
from the negative space etched on their
skin. I see sorrow where joy once caressed
tender lips, and I see how burdened eyes move
in comedic bodies, performing artifice on the
world’s stage.

I eat their sins, in the darkness of the room,
opening my mouth wide to consume
disquietude. I oppressively swallow un-
comfortable gulps, like the crust of dry bread
cutting open my throat; my teeth dissolve as they
gnash against the grain.
you sleep.

I’ve seen the other side, love,
a porous boundary that threatens our
wholeness, our divisiveness. There was a time,
before this contemplative empathy, when I could
not see the rainbow for the rain. Perhaps,
this is when we lose ourselves to
the other, when we become enmeshed, matted
together, solving the ache;
compassion, is the remedy,

© Kat Manica 2017