by B. Rae Grosz
I recognize the shape of your fingers, cast where the shadows of the tree branches should be. The song plucked on the lute is the one you once played for me on the piano. And this close, I can see that your eyes are still grey, though now as dark as they used to be light. But even light, they were never windows to me. I cannot see anything in the dark that tells me if there is anything left of you behind the mask or if you’ve already bled into this dream too much to be pulled from it.
I know this is a nightmare because I never asked if you wanted to dance.
“Want some light?” you asked once, like you’d found me in black dark.
“I’m fine. I don’t need much.”
“You’re allowed to want more.”
And awake, I know that doesn’t mean you love me. But here, I never asked if you wanted to dance, and you’re smiling, so I’ll hold on for this song, losing count of how many times the moon plays it again, staring until I can’t see that your mask only lets you smile, can’t see anything but how bright you are.
I’ve never known you well enough to see into your soul, but I know you well enough to find you everywhere. The birds from the tattoos on your arms are nesting in the trees. The moonlight is the color your eyes should be, the shadows the color your eyes are now. And this is obviously a dream, and we have to stop dancing to leave. But when we stop, still as statues, the song doesn’t. The song is only flowing slower, like the tears I feel stream over us as you hide your face against me and turn to stone.
B. Rae Grosz (she/her) is a Pittsburgh-born writer with a morbid imagination and a fondness for folklore, fairy tales, and ghost stories. You can find her on Twitter @braegrosz or visit her website braegrosz.com.