We were only a dream of touching for more than a moment. But still, nights demons climb into the pits of my ears, tattoo blotches of purple and blue under my eyes, when I wake, cravings calling out tear ducts for a touch that was never really mine to begin with, masochistic melancholy draws me to your chicken-scratch comfort, blotched purple and blue, ballerina phrases that dance in clumsy hand: now crammed into forgotten folders at the back of out-of- reach cubby-holes, drawers gathering dust on their runners like small-town boys with their bed-post notches, immortalised, despite distance or time, in ink-stains that darken like bruises with passing days. Apologies never my forte, even three years too late, I vowed to fold my love thousandfold upon itself, sharpen soft edges til they cut like a final goodbye; swallow it, you – my bitter pill, the could have been that never quite was, never will be. Endless stair stretches each step a heart, hour or mile, creeps and winds like choking ivy in the spaces between our last messages. Letters, postcards, the odd scrap of script, listed songs scribbled in university halls bring back tasting rain on upturned faces, storm-chasing, drenched and shivering but alive in shaking embrace; the atrial staccato of lips meeting that should never meet. Were you not so close, then - an itch between the shoulder-blades, still so out of reach? A captive of my demon’s den from the day we met, held in stasis by a rainbow array of scattered beams cast through kaleidoscope tears of Angels and Saints. I had begun my exploration of inhaled escapes, sought to smell out new ways to cope alone. Stained glass and rocks, stone or not, should never mix. Then sickly smoke, Devil’s haze, swelled swallowed me whole: welcomed as an old flame, it wasted memory away until recollective ribs were xylophones keys and I could not say if I had ever loved another - stole the scene of my spark snuffing the night we lay like a dead man’s grasp - interlace then limp release. Was this always our course? Opposite paths, fated to converge only for an instant? Did you know of this savage pretence that a shameful second could ever fuel a forever? Plunged into swirling eddies of deceit, you pearl-dived for a gilded line, cast about for a saviour, but neither could swim a stroke, sunk. Run, love, run: salmon-slip through my mind, dance of river on your tongue, lips spiced with gingerbread and the regrets we never lived to live out, haunting echoing on still and lone nights through recesses I haven’t yet cleansed of the thought of you. Run, you, run.
Poet's bio: Aidan Harvey is a 23 year old writer currently living in Cheshire. He studied English Literature and Creative writing at the University of Winchester and graduated in 2019. His favourite poets are Sylvia Plath and Ocean Vuong. He mainly writes poetry of a sombre and melancholy nature.