to you, the only love i’ll never know

By: Rachel Xu


The mountain sings sweet requiem
to the woman wrapped in delicate white linen
marinated in red from scattered streaks of fading sunlight
as airy white daubs wane & float by overhead
sitting below a jagged
wreath of evergreens
nailed to the crucifix above
she awaits her lover, who is
fading into dappled undergrowth leagues away
watching the last pillars standing molder against
tartan-fettered smoke & mirrors, a world where
familiar specters await in distant eden
cruelty folds into delicate little spirals
& pools around her bruised ankles
reflecting a stained glass of whispered covenants
of golden maybes and coquelicot see-you-laters
of wilted forget-me-nots in ironedboutonnières
of stale manna rotting under mephitic trenches
cherubim whispering lavender-coated deceptions
she sinks into inky waters, porous bubbly guilt
swallows every sweet delight, every marred skeleton
a burst of kaleidoscopic brilliance
screams into the crumbling abyss
& the woman in delicate red linen
awakens from an endless night, the arms of her lover
clutching her tighter than any brittle-boned regret
I’m home it tells her I’m home at last
their eyes meet/Aegean blue swallowed by Nephrite green
& the mountain retires its hymnals for another season


freedom is the girl in ragged gossamer
with her mud-caked palms outstretched above writhing corpses
blind in ephemeral dawn/sight in Cimmerian twilight
you’ve always been watching her
tracing every taut movement/with anguished scrutiny
screaming insoluble curses at the midnight sun
so when the rusted birdcage springs wide open
your Valhalla tantalizing, yet untouchable forevermore
sunlight meets charred skin like
untempered circuitry unraveling
into brilliant empyrean, into the boundless faraway
you once promised we would see together
it consumes every wretched ache mantled under hollow bones
every want you were wont to neglect/to evade
we wonder, oh yes like the grotesque heretics we are
we can’t help but wonder/yearn for/hope
some sequestered rendezvous in Zurich’s idyllic sierras
peace of mind and of soul at long, arduous last
this is the road less traveled
the one we’ve chosen to walk
‘til both our bitter ends
blood-stained linen,
once comfort now asphyxiating
as crumpled droplets rain down the length of my battle scars
onto your half-lidded gaze/your head in my hands
our first foredoomed encounter
and final fated farewell
let’s meet again in another life,
my love.