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From the Fingertips of Fallen Youth

by Samantha Farley

Artwork by Emily Yue


Too, from the fingertips of fallen youth.

The air hung thick with discomfort.  We stood in the middle of the forked road, the sun callously eyeing our flushed bodies, searing with guilt.  My hands clung mechanically to your sides; the flannel felt rough and my palms tingled with irritation, painted with anticipation and the wet heat of late July.   Trees hovered nervously above our heads, shifting their weight with the apprehensive wind.  Insecurity draped over my figure, shrouding my thoughts with hot cheeks and throbbing ears.  And, with my gaze sewn to intersection of fabric and skin on your chest, I kept myself from making contact with the mischief that stood, grounded, in front of me.

***

Regret—
a crash of impulsive,
discordant actions
resulting in heavy moods
and missed opportunities—
commonly found tucked
within unswallow-able lumps
in dry throats,
and welling inside cavities
of untrustworthy hearts.

***

My shoulders pressed hard against the cement wall, achingly cold.  The world was left muddied.  Life travelled sluggishly outside my blurred eyes, like we’d all been dipped in some perversely-colored tapioca pudding.  The watery wash clung to my eyelashes, warping reality, leaving figures unrecognizable.  It was eerily comforting, the break between me and actuality, as though my tears were forming some protective serum, barring me from responsibility.  I remember when I dreamt incessantly of diving right into the Matisse poster you kept on your wall, envisioning the velvety petals enveloping my cool body as effervescent tides of violet and plum rise and swell over me, rich and decadent.  I would invite you in to float with me in this luscious tide and glee sprang from your eyes as you rushed to scrape off the bed sheets plastered to your sallow body.  But just as you freed yourself from all your nascent confinements and began running my way, your IV would catch the seal of skin.  Then we’d both just watch, horrified, as your red sprayed down my envisioned perfection.  The truth clattered louder, heavier, this time. It dug into my ears, anvil and stirrup shivering for days. Endings always paint more deadly when they haven’t been visited in a while, yielding trails of breathless souls in their wake.

Published inPoetryChapel Hill

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