she will not carelessly discard these moments.             

the statutes and possession.

conversations preserved in


—i know the smell of sugar

on your breath—

the simple and complex guarded

for so long, locked away behind 

forged smiles and silver keys shrouded in 


it won’t be careless. wrap memories in parchment 

and place them on a high shelf, 

away from the warping eyes of


—away from my desire to care—

the oyster and her hard won

pearl, smeared together 

through tears and 


years and 


pried open and iridescent when 

day shine 


and mother moon 


holy fingers through the


to gently cradle

her shell.

— rachel baila


i would’ve died that february.

alone. the walls still have my tears

sewn behind mildew in the grout.

my mind—the crepuscule

darkening into an apathetic black.

i would have died that morning.

dragging hands and knees across the stone

to the bathroom, not yet detached

from her.

i called to you.

i would have died on the floor,

somberness swallowing my legs

as i bled humanity back to the earth

in fist-sized waves.

the heaviness of my sob, like an anchor

angrily tossed to the sea.

i would have died under the weight

of expectation asleep

in crimson puddles, smeared on my thighs and arms

staining the tile, trying to out-crawl the irrecovocable.

you were sicker than i.

you were dying. really dying.

your liver turning back on itself,

moss-toned skin and sallow eyes, vomitous between breaths.

you were dying. unable to sleep or eat without pain.

i leaned on you at your weakest,

surprised to feel your usually strong arms

shaking under pressure as i curved

my discolored knees to my chest and

bent toward you

to be held.