a collage of reds—
the half-full wineglass gleams
sultry burgundy and ruby rich,
her hair the colors of every precious metal
brass and bronze and gold,
none so precious as she,
cords braided through her curls,
sunset and campfire and ruddy coals—
and greens all through her veins,
vine whip and moss plush
and sprawling summer leaves sunlit
into a web of capillaries and shadows,
flecked bloodstone and striped malachite,
cool polish, cat’s eye calm, and forest pulse;
her wings are flame and her voice is aloe,
and seeing someone’s heart can make you a healer
or a very accurate assassin
When she speaks her voice
is falling water,
lilt of a silver fountain,
low thunder of rain
torrential in the night.
A river curls beneath it.
When she speaks her words
are starlight; the roil
of plasma blazes
too cold to freeze.
White-hot diamond glitter.
She flows in the darkness, river-named,
daughter of the night sky,
and burns, a star-in-glory, a storm.
I have known her since I was fifteen or sixteen, writing stories with my sister. I dreamed of her, thought she was a figment of my imagination or a character I made up myself. Almost a decade before I found out she was real — and now I wonder if she wasn’t actually around when I was much, much younger. There’s no way for me to tell, and she isn’t saying.