After you leave, I watch beauty sculpt the apocalypse. It is cracking open. It is awake. It is your dewberry jam on my kitchen counter. It is every word you’ve ever uttered since the fall of language, the guttural sounds in your throat, the harrowing of an empty vowel walking into a dream. Pretend that I am just a dream, floating. And when you kiss that dream goodnight I’ll be lost again, swallowed up with that marmalade you spoon into your mouth; I’ll be nothing to you anymore, sitting still on your sofa; I’ll be next to you; I’ll be painting Armageddon, watching it quiver under my brushstrokes. When you realize, I’ll have already trained it to slip silently under my palms: palms that turn back time. I’ll remember how only you could understand the recipe. How you kept violets by the pantry with the sugar. How you would thumb through the fruits and ’xtract the ones that had gone bad. How your heart was so full of lemon zest that there was no room for me. Zephyrs dance by the open window as you mix the ingredients together. All is perfect, ‘xcept for the slight chill that comes with every winter. That winter, when its cold claws vanished into darkness. The rustling umber of a rusting heart. The kin of a tin-man left out in the snow, still singing. I’ll compose a chorale for you, or a requiem. I’ll watch the harmonies tumble like a question into my stomach, my body parting into each note. Split my skin into octaves running parallels, until there’s no method to find the itchings of a melody. Until the choir blends together like pieces of an orange peel. Until the silence kills the violets. Until the lemon juice stings my tongue. Until the fervor of flavor ignites in spite. Until it stops. Until I have to. I can’t stop the golden: My gifts gold, my words gold, my palms gold, my failed attempts at love gold, my everything. I try each day to recreate your sunshine. The scents of dawn from mason-jar mornings. I wash my hands. Combine the fruits, the sugar. Bring it to a boil. I’ll be here, waiting for you. Or for the apocalypse. Whichever one comes first.
Linda Kong is a Chinese-American young writer from the Mid-Atlantic region. She loves bubble tea, card games, and the feel of warm clothes fresh out of the dryer. Find her online at lindakong.carrd.co or on Twitter @kinda_long.