Setsunai by Courtenay S. Gray



Photographs last a lifetime — put me in her place.

I insert myself like you insert yourself inside me/at least what I had imagined would happen. 

All that was before, the monochrome photographs — stoic hands rested beneath your chin like an Adonis. 

Japan became your safe haven — your retreat. 

We could have gone there together — the maraschino cherries abreast in our hotel room/the jazz piano playing on the record you brought in your case. 

The black void of sky — echoing icy breaths/the energy of coitus and tangible lust metastasising. I am the feeder of your dreams, rebirthing nostalgia with its vanilla pod perfume. 

I would dance with you to ラビリンス by Mondo Grosso ft Hikari Mitsushima — my hair pasted with starry glitter, my red nails tracing your back. 

Our song, electric with the soft baby blue it now exudes — a palette cleanser for being too happy, too content. Before, she reduced you — under the thumb of hinged fragility. 

Grief is to be sleepwalking — to be a victim to yourself. The scent of you sticks to my nostrils — vetiver and musk merging to form a powerful organism that haunts me. 

In the shimmered silver shadow of the mirror — my mouth is agape, savouring the remaining maraschino cherries. The glassy syrup travels down my neck like how you peppered your kisses. 

Courtenay S. Gray is a writer, poet and essayist from the North of England. She has been featured in publications such as Vamp Cat Mag and Trick Zine & Thorn Lit Magazine which she edited for before its termination. Courtenay is a 2020 pushcart nominee. 

Twitter: @courtenaywrites


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