For the time being we are more treacherous,
standing in these courtyards embellished with
brilliant red children who we never learned to love.
We think: 'this must be the coast of gold, with
houses painted in muted sheets of cold air,'
when in truth it is not a bored sun but a radiant shadow
that ensnares our bodies, hunched over crumbling pages.
All these stains make for an illegible memoir.

We write words in the dark, illuminated by crucifixion;
they're hard to cover up with only two hands
so we enlist help from blindfolded neighbors.
They must not be allowed to see what lies dormant.

We write cruelly, furiously, until our hands are bruised,
then bury them in the ground in our backyards.
The particles of dirt make them sinful, pretty,
but all this time we wish they were bloody instead -
the blood makes them gorgeous. Their vibrancy
eclipses all proclaimed misery. Beauty trivializes tragedy.

'Find beauty anywhere and everywhere,' our
professors said. 'Find it so you do not have to create
it.' Is this why we lean over our steep metaphors, then?
To find some semblance, to imitate each other's love,
to latch onto life's coattails and refuse it room to breathe.
Each autumn that passes is another page fumbled,
another slice of the fingers to mark the passage
of atrocious lives, forsaken dreams, attempted rebirths.
It is winter now - ideal weather for papercuts.

Until we reach, panting, the pinnacle of Maslow's
fearsome pyramid, the periphery will stay melted,
and our words will stay desperate. Our children
will suffer for lack of oxygen, for lack of ugliness.
The sunset will always remain a futile goal, but when
we finally reach it, we will realize it is not gold at all,
but a stark white that shines too brightly to see.