by James Vest
My face transitioned from autumn’s fevered leaves to the silent, angelic pale of winter’s loss. I found you in the trash, this old photograph, a picture of you I had made my own, and put alongside my family and our smiling faces, and we loved you. This tiny still is all that remains of ourselves, our colossal portraits since taken down, replaced with piles of miniature snapshots, black and white memories unframed, heavy in its collective weight, edges worn from handling, details fogged by time. All I have left is this image, haunted by the specter of embarrassment, and emotion’s wasted effort, like the unread novelist, whose belittled words were buried in long, silent rows. And you in my hands again, I can see my warm, slow breaths drop frozen from the air, kisses falling short, vanishing along with the whispers of things I have already said, failing to breathe life back into your mystery. I left you there among the rubbish alone, hoping the season’s first snow would be the official end of a very long and treacherous fall.
James Vest is a writer and artist based in Chicago.