I remember the first time I met you

back when I still believed in magic

and tore through more books

than meals at the dinner table.


I remember how small you seemed

how I could wrap my middle finger and thumb

around your wrist

and still, have both fingertips overlap.


I remember how I flung my winter jacket into the air once

in the fourth grade

and the zipper caught your right eyebrow;

I didn't mean to hurt you, but you cried anyway.


there is no elegant way to get the words out now

I can't take your conversations out of other people's mouths

and string you back together with them--

they are not mine to cut up and spit out.


those moments have soaked into the soil beneath us

they say we are all in a constant state of becoming--

you have stopped becoming

you have simply become.


become a wilting memory

become a name whispered under breathless pain

become something pulled from twisted metal on a highway

but I suppose you already know that.


there are no delicate realizations

the morning after

when we wake up

and you do not.


and the people who don't know you

will feel emptiness in their ribcages nonetheless

they are afraid that one day your face will take on the features

of a corner of their own heart, too.


your peers cried over your godliness at the service

and it sickened me

call it a collision with fate

but there was nothing holy about this.


the wreckage is what heartbreak feels like;

ours have all stopped pumping blood

we are just trying our hardest

to be closer to you.