Like Life

Liz N. Clift


We light the tiki torches and the small flames
pattern our faces between dark and light,
shadows like death – here, there, gone –
and we’re dancing to the low roar of the highway,
and Atmosphere pouring from someone’s parked car,
we’re trying to find a balance. The soles of our feet
are coated with the silky dirt that makes up
this part of Colorado, the type we’re always sweeping
from the house, the type that reminds me of ashes,
and when we’ve kicked up the dirt to our ankles,
and when the tiki torches have run low and the car
has driven off, and our calves burn, and our breath
forms clouds, we sit beneath the dying apple tree,
the one with the hollowed trunk, and our fingers
find each other’s hair. We’re young enough
that maybe we still believe we will live forever,
and we count our breaths against each other,
and find the shooting stars that arc across December.
We catalogue each other’s scars for the hundredth time.
Eventually the fire will go out, and we’ll return
to where we’re from, but for now we have this
patch of ground and our dreams turned up, the warmth
of each other’s bodies, and the barking of someone’s dog.