In Florida

By Rosa Sophia

There’s nothing quite so perfect as loneliness.
Hold it in between your fingers and you feel nothingness;
chilly, pliable, palpable emptiness, a cool night in a tropical paradise.
Lights reflect on the water, immobile beacons frozen against ebony blackness.
At night it’s so very still, but during the day the wind will whistle
and the breezes will rock the palm trees against the window panes.
Leaves will flutter through the air and hit the water’s surface.

I wonder if those leaves will sink, will they be pulled down into the darkness,
will they shudder into false awareness, morphing into something different
beneath the frigid surface. The intracoastal hugs the night sky.
Were it not for the buildings and the lights, everything would look like one piece
one interwoven cloth lying as night across my painted world.

Shush; stop and listen. 1:30 in the morning and tired people whisper.
There’s nothing quite so perfect as their loneliness;
they drift and mumble, fall against each other, despite how loud they scream
when daytime breaks. Somewhere in the distance, a train is shrieking
it chugs along the tracks and crosses roads where cars and trucks wait,
their drivers yawning, succumbing to the sleepiness of early morning.

Who knows where that train is going and where it will stop,
and if there are people that sit on seats and wait, wondering when
the end of the line will come. It could be a freight train carrying
empty words and broken dreams. It could be another possibility of
darkness dreamt for me. Birds screech on the water; are they being attacked?

Who knows what scaly monsters sift through water’s bottom,
unearthing tasty morsels, living beings turned to meat, flesh made into food
between long, sharp ivory teeth. I hear the train receding in the distance;
no more animal screaming. I feel inside my chest the pulsing void,
the gripping pain of loneliness. I wish for arms to wrap around me
lips to touch my flesh. I wish for just one night not spent in emptiness.

There’s nothing quite so perfect as concentrated loneliness,
like pure poison dripped into a test tube, examined under microscopic lenses.
Home is where I am and where I am not. Home is sandy deserts
and endless fields. Home is forests reaching toward pristine lakes and ponds.
Home is where I create, where words and phrases come to life.

I know not where loneliness drifts when the moon reaches high in the sky.
Crawl into bed as the morning reaches its peak, curl up under thick blankets
pretend that I’m buried beneath the earth, buried beneath soil, buried beneath
rock. I crawl into dreams and waking nightmares, thoughts that preoccupy
and shame me. I wriggle as I lose myself in alcoholic dreams
and the whiskey breath that leaves my lips rests on my weary flesh.

I wrap my arms around myself and try to hold my heart in;
it’s not so easy when the air is cold, and there’s nothing
quite so perfect as mid-February loneliness.
Months pass and time drones on, becoming October certainty
mornings laced with apprehension, tangible like flesh
beneath my hungry fingers. I cannot remember
the feelings of passion, the fire of first love.

In Florida, day turns to night and night turns to day
a repetitious journey, traveling past souls that yearn for something
something that has no name, and they fill that desire with
money and things and cars and food. I know not what that feels like.
The void pulses beneath my ribcage, an animal with a contemptuous
approach to life as it / he / she / we know it.

I remember sitting outside the bar on an evening such as this
drinking pints of concentrated loneliness, spending my time
with friends who are no longer present. Disappeared, traveled on,
feet tired on the dusty pavement. I used to see a loving couple kiss
and simply ignore it. I used to hear about beauty and think I had it.
Now I know better. “Got a cigarette?” I don’t even smoke.
But I feel the desire rising from below the pit of my stomach
each hair stands on end, gooseflesh becomes taut—cold—I shiver,
hating the feeling of emotions gone bitter.

So I concentrate on logistics, and the meaning of life in terms of robotics,
and everything that I taste—eat—drink—feel—experience—seems empty
and lifeless. And everything I see on the horizon seems dastardly empty,
devoid of the one thing that I recall is supposed to matter the most.
There’s nothing quite so perfect as loneliness, hold it between your fingers
and you feel nothingness. I stand on the porch and feel the sea breeze
bristling my flesh. If only the salt of the ocean could clear my wounds,
if only I could drink in passion like I drink in whiskey, a permanent
solution to the void that shudders beneath my hungry chest.

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