A shirt hanging in golden light before a big window showing a blue sky and a cityscape
Christopher Anderson / Magnum

Night Star

A poem for Sunday

Footfall in the long hallways above us,

painted stars on the ceiling, real stars from the balcony.

Teenagers were making out

by the public fountain.

You had a terrible apartment: The sink water tasted like blood.

I cut my fingernails over the toilet.

My parents were still married in another country.

Dark swallows were dropping themselves.

For a whole weekend,

I wore one of your shirts.

That will mean the most to me

in my short life. There was a big wormwood armoire

with an urn on top.

You said those were the landlady’s ashes.

The mattress made a sound as you lay down.

My shoulders were sunburned,

it hurt when you pulled my arm out of one sleeve,

I tasted your deodorant as the shirt came off.

Fall came and disappeared.

We were meant to live another life.

I mean here.