Valentine's Day
Lauren DeStefano

We could run, you said. We could build a ladder of broken things that still have shine, they’ve just forgotten their purpose. We could climb them and we can be up there with the blue.
The clouds would sing to us, you said.
So we wove a net, and in it we began to hoard like madmen the things people left behind. We had scraps of poems and things that never learned to breathe. We had hundreds of things that caught our reflection—a thousand little bits of you and me, spinning, building, whispering.
They worried for us. They stood at the edge of the web we’d spun and they called for us to come back. They told us we were dreaming, we were dreaming, wake up.
The sun felt so much brighter. It made my hair warm and white. It made your eyes float ahead of their sockets. You couldn’t imagine the love I had for you. It was on fire. I thought I could have set the whole world on fire and watched it fall to ashes around your feet.
You smiled at me.
We built, unsure even what would come of it, our mountain that would guide us up, up.

But when we reached the sky, hopeful and out of breath, it was not what we’d expected. The clouds didn’t sing.

The earth was in patches—brown and paler brown—everything dead and dreary. Wind pushed us into each other, pulled us away. Our hair was fingers reaching nowhere.
We’re going to fall, I said. I didn’t want to fall. Being up and looking down, I could not imagine a worse thing than to be in all those patches. I couldn’t believe I’d spent all my time there.
You were smiling. Wind went through your teeth.
We could jump, you said. There’s another sky beyond this one, and it’s all for us.
I reached for your hand.

©2008-2017 Lauren DeStefano. Layout by Harry Lam.
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