The night you told me you were leaving
The moon was yellow-pink full
It looked twice as big as I had ever seen it
I watched it slip away
Sliver by sliver, over a fortnight
Receding, diminishing
Like our time left
Like the black hole in my heart,
There was no moon the night you left

Long red hair always in your face
Sapphire eyes and pink lips
Creamy skin, tall, curvy body
Tiny feet and hands
Frizzy brown hair
Glasses, braces, skinny knees
Dull complexion, Bitten nails
Bony and jagged
Oh, please

I remember that time
When we were eight
Hot as hell in our building
Ran a bath with ice-cold water
Filled it with bubbles
Stripped and jumped in
So small we both fit
I remember that day
The day I saw the first one

I walk into CVS
Suave shampoo, pads, dental floss
YM and a pack of gum
Up and down the fluorescent aisles
Past the diapers and the razors in Lane 4
Just as I'm leaving
White bag in hand
I see him over by the deodorant
Holding a can of Arid Dry
I want to shake him but run instead

There's a photo of us outside
It was last summer by Sam's pool
On the porch swing at dusk
Probably covered in bug spray
Me in my blue bikini
You looking out at far away
Your head on Sam's shoulder
Your fingers laced in mine
A sarong wrapped delicately around you

There's a place in the West Side of town
By the railroad tracks
Around the corner from Laffy's Diner
Where the lightning struck the wet sand
The ground is silver glass
And even on the driest day
The ground around it always damp
It happened ten years ago
Something of a town legend
No one knows why
And only I know
That you were there when it hit

The coffee maker is percolating
You early bird
Waking up at seven on a Saturday
Meanwhile, I snore and drool till ten
You sit with your cup of French Roast
Curled up inside my pink bathrobe
And cry a little
When you're done, you open the fridge
Crack four eggs and turn on the oven
You fix us omelets like nothing ever happened

You met Sam at the diner
The summer we were fifteen
Fresh out of our first year of high school
Tall, cocoa, soulful, quiet
Slowly entranced you
He never actually asked you out
But no doubt that you were together
Me- your sidekick, always tagging
I watched you fall in love

We sit on the loveseat
You French-braid my hair
Your soft touch makes me drowsy
A sappy Mandy Moore romance
Blares on the television
We sigh and laugh in all the right parts
We slowly work our way
Through thirty Lindt balls
Milk & Dark & White & Mint
Every time you place a new one to your lips
And roll it around your tongue
You make a little sighing noise
Of chocolate ecstasy
You're not even aware of it
But I love that noise

I met you in third grade
Tin lunch box, plaid skirt
Red curls brushed neatly back
You never knew this, but I hated you at first
Perfect clothes, perfect grades, perfect smile
Meanwhile I was stumbling around
Snotty nose, ripped tights, lost homework
Back then I hadn't realized
Things aren't always as they look
That glass spot where the lightning struck
You were nine
Torn apart at flesh and soul
Hiding from your ghosts
Resting in a sandy lot
The electricity flashed
Nine feet from where you stood
You took it as a sign from God

We're walking down to the diner
Stomachs rumbling
I hate to admit it
But you've lost your external beauty
Your skin is pale
You're scrawnier than me
And your beautiful hair is greasy and thinning
I guess I never noticed until now
I reach for your arm
And you wince
I've grabbed a blue bruise

I see him again
Three days later
At the West Side Mall
Licking a pistachio ice cream cone
His Adam's apple moves
As the creamy dessert
Drips down his throat
Which I would like to wring

In this memory we're sixteen
Sam is holding your waist
Kissing your neck
It's after school, on the campus lawns
You're trying not to smile
But your teeth show as you slightly grin
You're slow dancing to your own beat,
The two of you
It's the first time I ever felt alone
Since we became a trio
Boyfriend-Girlfriend-Best Friend
But I can't hear the music for a moment

Running sprinting sweat fear
Ache alone being chased oh no
Cornered struck sweat tear blood
Cry pain struggle attack yell
Innocent drunk fist please no
Over bruise hide heal

Four days since your news
We sit in my room
I study, you organize my bookshelf
Alphabetical order by author's last name
Finished, you sit against the wall
Minutes pass, I hear you sniffle
I look up- your red eyes, pouring silent tears
I shut my book and go over
We hug and weep together

The first time I met him, I was nine
It was in the third grade
You invited me to your house,
A gray, bleak ranch with a truck in the driveway
You answered the door
When I came
Led me down the hall, grimacing
Opened the family room door
He was sitting on the couch, smoking
He looked at me with cold, cruel eyes
And you said,
"Selina, meet my father"

Nine days until you're leaving
Sam pulls up in his '01 Chevy Tahoe
Fully loaded
He sweeps you into his strong arms
And I climb in the back
We drive for a long time without saying much
We stop at the glass spot
In the back of the field
He turns off the engine and looks at you
You tell the whole story

There's a scar
Above your right eye
Where you were struck with a bottle
Of Bud Light
There's a dark spot on your arm
Where he put out his cigarette
When you were six
There's a little bruise above you left knee
Where you "fell" by the stairs
Your stomach is purple
From your fight last week
And there's a red scar
Marking the first time he struck you
The day your mother died

You were running towards my house
The wind was howling
Blood streaming out of your nose
Tears splashing off your eyes
Fumbling in the dark
You ran in without knocking
Straight into my arms and cried a million bloody tears
You lifted up your skirt
And showed a black, black mark
On your tiny thigh
On the eight morning before your departure
I wake up before you
I gaze at your sleeping face
A worry line even on your forehead
Even in your subconscious
Never a peaceful moment
He haunts you always

"I'm leaving"
You tell me
"I can't stay any longer
I've told him I'm looking at colleges
He won't notice I'm not back
For a couple weeks
I'll sneak away in the dark
And go somewhere
I can't tell you where, because he'll come asking you
And I can't put you in that kind of position
I'll write you a letter after a few months
When it's safe
But Selina,
I don't know if I can be hit
One more time"

You tell Sam how
When you were five
You got in a car accident
With your mother
She died trying to save you
She pulled to the right at the last second
Knowing the oncoming car
Would only hit her
You tell Sam how
Your father blamed you
Threw you down the stairs
The day after you got out of the hospital
You show him your scar
And you do all of this
Without shedding a tear

There's a portrait of us
Above the mantel in my room
My arm is around you
And I'm whispering something in your ear
Your head is tipped back
And you're laughing,
Clutching your gut

Only half a moon left
We lay in my backyard
Staring at it
Holding hands
And eating popcorn
Watching the movie
Of the stars
Sam is next to you
You roll over
And kiss away his tears

What will I do
Once you're gone?
Staring at the stars alone
No shoulder to lean on
No unspoken communication
Curled up in bed
Without you
Breathing sweetly on a cot by my feet
Can I be me
Without you?

I heard him yelling at you once
The sound reverberated through the walls
Screaming in a drunken voice
Crack! A smack across your cheek
Your dry eyes
Never crying in his presence
After the age of eleven
He fumbled to his room
The sound of the TV blaring
And the smell of smoke
Seeping out to smother us

Sam is the perfect boyfriend for you
Your kinship, soulmate-ness
Is second only to our own
He knows you almost as well as me
His chocolate fingers
Wrap easily around your frail body
The second we met him
Our private duo became a trio
And when you told him the truth
There was no eruption, because he already knew
Without you ever saying a word
Yeah- he knows you that well
Six days until you're gone
We're reading in my room
You, the Bible
Me, a comic book
Go figure
We're sitting on the floor
With our backs against each other
And I can feel your heartbeat
Pulsing in the same rhythm as mine

At graduation last spring
Your blue gown draped over you
You walked up to the stage
Gathering your awards of achievement
Sam and I cheered you on
That night you told me
You weren't going to college
Even though you had been accepted by Columbia
Your Numero Uno
It was then that I knew something was
Really wrong

We're at the West Side Mall
The first time you've been in public
Since you left to "look at colleges for a few days"
You have a list of the things you'll need
Clothes, hygienics, batteries, flashlights
Books, road maps, car stuff, etc.
We use our carefully saved $417
It's not until then I it really hits me:
I may never see you again

As the years went by
After your mom died
Your dad got lost
His mind covered in booze
His grief covered in anger
His fist covered in guilt
Each time he hit you
You loved him anyway
Never calling child services
You'd already lost one parent
You thought it was your fault
You weren't about to X out another
So you took it

I'm heading off to college
In the fall
Heading to the daring streets of NYC
Without you
Who will come with me
On midnight McDonald's missions
Who will change my flat tire
Like last summer?
Who will teach me
Those random useless facts?
Who will be my roomie, my study buddy
My best friend?

The velvet sky
The smooth-beautiful starry canvas
Calls out our names
I rule the night, you rule the day
We are queens of the heavens
We float on fluffy clouds and shine yellowy light
I, Selina, "of the moon"
And you, Soleol, "of the sun"
Our names are linked in destiny
Like the sun you shine with your own brilliance
Like the moon, I hide in the shadows
The only glowing I emit is a reflection of you
It's midnight Tuesday
Three days, four nights before you leave
You and Sam and I
Sit in the living room
We watch Gone With the Wind
Your favorite movie
Then The Lord of the Rings
Sam's and mine
Over these seven hours
You sit closer and closer to Sam
Until you are fast asleep
Laying, half on him
On the old sofa
Without a word
I get a quilt and pull it over you
Sam says goodnight
And I make my way up the stairs
Your last night alone with him

Memories of a simpler time
Ring in my mind
Hopscotch and lemonade
Snow days and sledding
Pigtails and plaid skirts
So small we both fit in my rocking chair
And you would read to me
And your smooth voice and the motion of the chair
Would make me drift off to a dreamland
Jumping on my mother's bed
Eating ice cream out of the carton
With a plastic spoon
But even then,
There were bruises

He used to try to control you
A scream if you were late
A slap if you spilled your drink
A beating if you disobeyed him
But now it's the opposite
He completely ignores you
Hardly notices whether your there or not
Once in a while, a beating
When he's drunk or angry
It's hard to tell which is worse
But either or, you've got to get away
You are my right hand
My left arm
My mouth, my neck, my foot
You are engrained in every part of me
Our bodies blend together
Blurring with no edges
Crevices and bumps fit like a puzzle
We sit in on my hammock
A four- legged, two-nosed being
We are one forever

Two days left
You begin to pack your things
I long to give you a piece of me
To take with you
I wish I could reach inside and
Pull off a piece of my heart
That would go with you
But I know that
It will anyway

The night before your very last
We camp in the backyard
Of my apartment complex
This time, Sam is not with us
Our bodies, our minds,
Our souls are one
We watch the sun set
And the moon come out
Just a slivery crescent
And you say
"A rebirth of Selina:
Goddess of the Moon"
We lay awake all night talking
And then the sun comes out
The sky is brilliant magenta and turquoise
And I say
"A rebirth of Soleol:
Goddess of the Sun"

Our last day
We stayed at home
We slept all morning,
For we had been awake all night
Then you packed
We watch The Lion King
The first movie we ever saw together
Sam comes in his pickup truck
With a steaming hot pizza
After we eat
You two go for a drive
Disappear and don't come back
Until I'm already drowsy in bed
You climb in next to me
As I hear Sam pull away
We hold each other and cry

You leave in the middle of the night
Wake me up to say goodbye
You slip into the folds of the night
The night- my territory
Insomnia drives outside to look at my kingdom
I think about you
Wonder where you've gone
It's my territory
But I can't protect you
Because there was no moon
The night you left
No moon because I, Selina
Am with you
And no sun because you, Soleol
Are here with me
You escaped your father
But you did not escape me
My love for you lives on
Through each yellow sun
And each yellow moon
My own Soleol