A photograph of an hourglass with a wooden frame, in warm lighting.

Loneliness

by Phoebe Au

Loneliness
Is the sound an axe makes
Against piano keys our fingers once had kissed.

Loneliness
is a mother's silence
as father's flames danced to the music's charred remains.
Its ashes warm us one last day
in this long, cold winter. 

Tell me not to be afraid
because fear is all we have ever known.

Tell me not to look beyond
what is already ahead. 

Tell me not to ask for hope
with a kiss I use to seal my lover's lips goodnight.
As if flames could catch our burning tongues
like secrets slipping through an hourglass.

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