my chapped hands twisted
in a body of splinters,
i groped for sticky branches
so one day she'd elevate me
to her perch in the sky.
i plodded through mud
and sheets of ice alike,
held her sleeve when she drifted
to be the reason she lived,
clutching her frostbite fingers
so i could smother her doll lips
and pull her under myself,
but she didn't panic and sputter
or suffocate and drown
because of me. i watched from afar.
and what i saw was light
used to seep from her every pore,
now grime swirls down her shower drain.
she inhales enlightenment as smog
and sips coffee in a stuffy bedroom
to keep her lungs pure.
and i'd caress her frozen form
if only once more. if only i could,
but i shiver with the birds
and drench her in my sap.