She sits naked in the dark room, wrapped,
in the cashmere of a purple scarf. Her computer screen
skin writhes in time with her slideshows. A coffee house
snake charmer, I can’t help but read uneasy futures
in the curve of her spine, and the slope of her shoulders.

She feels the tremors of remembered words, unspoken
as she peels through the digital pictures
on the monitor. She hears the distant laughter
of friends left behind on a small island, connected
by tin cans on fiber-optic string. No matter how loud

she laughs at the past it still fades, as ash remembers fire.
If it takes imagination to see our past in color, it takes regret
to wash it all to gray, and in a gray voice she speaks
of midnight markets, and lewd jokes in proud company.
She watches videos of herself speeding through red lights,
like a greedy bee through Taiwan’s concrete hives.

He…They understood me, she trails off,
like a blood slick knife that finds its way
more easily back to the wound.

On that night we part, slowly, uncurling
from each other as noiselessly as cigarette smoke.
I sit alone with my own distant memories, of girls
gone wrong, of bliss hardened like stale bread.
Wondering how these new colors mix with the old.

How can my fading palettes, crusted with pre-dawn light,
still yield something pure, untouched by doubt. I tell myself,
just a few days longer, just a few more strokes, and we can
finally smear a masterpiece on this cracked canvas
between the cotton wrinkles, and the words that fill the space
between memories will be walls of light as the pictures disappear.

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