13:4: “Visiting Hours”, by Lynette Mejía

13:4: “Visiting Hours”, by Lynette Mejía
I knew I couldn’t keep you.
grey hair so human, splayed
like spider silk across the starched pillow
a firefly, a flicker among the trees
like the ones I captured as a child.

I watch you breathe.
listen to your life measured
by the rhythms of machines
though truth be told they are more
a crutch for me than for you.

I think about time.
a breeze across my cheek
and your breath on my neck
lying in a pool of sunlight or silver
eyes shining in the darkness.

How difficult to love.
something which measures time
in moments, a day, an hour
you are god to a butterfly
you are a butterfly to me.

How easy to forget.
we were never young
together, won’t grow old together.
Instead I’ll sit here and watch
with ever-sharp immortal eyes
the flowers in the vase beside you die.

Lynette Mejía writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror prose and poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Goblin Fruit, Dreams & Nightmares, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, and Star*Line. She is currently working on a master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and lives in Carencro, Louisiana with her husband, three children, six cats, and one dog. You can find her online at www.lynettemejia.com. She says:

“Visiting Hours” was inspired by a short story I wrote a few years ago called “Becoming,” about two lovers, Elinor, who is fae, and Dee, who is human, and their quest for acceptance in the world. I still think about Dee and Elinor every once in a while, wondering how they are, and what’s become of them. This poem was the result of that, imagining how hard it would be to part with someone you loved so deeply, but how much the worse for knowing that your time alone would not be measured in months or years, but in centuries. 

Photograph of hoarfrost in Niedersachsen, Germany, by Daniel Schwen, is provided under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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