Empty halls once had a name

The fan whimpers one final cry before it relinquishes the impossible task of keeping me cool. Lights flicker off and sticky air creeps through the crack in the door. Sweat drips from forehead to floor as redolent tendrils weave heavy head to tiled tub. I let the icy water rise to hold my aching bones and tired skin. Eyes close and mind flutters past the scorching fog to land 

On December highways with
cracked leather and mud-caked shoes 
you hand me a scarlet coffee cup and 
I don’t have to ask what’s inside.

We laughed our way through
family feasts and familiar roads,
painting stories of what 
better ways it could go. 

With gloved hands and
midnight walks,
past classrooms we once
called ours

Filled empty hallways with
stories of lost years,
and a love that 
came too late.

The tv flashed with shows 
neither of us could name, 
holding us with words
we would never say. 

Arm pressed to arm yet
eyes roaming anywhere but
the place where our skin
ached for what we could not touch. 

Hour-long drives that 
ended too soon
and that summer you
turned the music down. 

Do you realize that
if you lived here,
we would 
be together? 

Air turned to cotton as
the passport in my pocket 
dared me to tear it to shreds 
and all I said was, of course. 

You turned the music up
and the space between us
filled with memories too
raw to speak

of curbside couches 
and clasped hands 
holding on for a moment 
that lasted a little too long

of decade-long fights 
about who crushed on whom
when what we weren’t saying was
from that moment on it’s always been you 

of legs intertwined 
and dreams had on shoulders 
hidden beneath blankets 
and locked in back rooms 

of supermarket laughter
and tipsy twirls into hands 
on waists that whispered of 
a home I’d long abandoned 

of curled paths through  
lands you’d never see
and footprints in sand that
tides filled with your name 

of strangers asking who holds 
my heart and seeing your smile 
as I answered, 
no one.