You Are Here

in velvet grasp of eternal night
a building wrapped in strips of glass, light
slicing bravely through starless dark
so utterly alone, fragile before shadows.

but inside, inside! red carpets, golden lamps
warming the grain of rich wood; the air drunken wild
with the breath of infinity patiently blowing
in crisp recycled breeze—bold-printed notices
announcing a seminar, always tomorrow at noon,
plush chairs turned forward in soft expectation
goodie bags lined up by the podium waiting for you
who came here yesterday but yesterday
means nothing; it must have been hours since
you slipped through those doors and yet the sky
still holds no kiss of dawn and every exit
tunnels back on itself till you forget
what you were looking for

you should not be this calm, not least when
the guest list holds only deadnames of the people
you and everyone you know could have been
and the chocolate in the goodie bags
are matryoshka-wrapped in infinite
plastic cupping your pools
of frustrated longing

in the halls of desk-cramped offices outside
every worker is your first celebrity crush
in dizzying iterations of achingly handsome
men and women whispering in covert urgency
tension vibrating through the impossible crowd
of twinned bodies; supervisors
lean by the door, hands sketching
divergent courses of lives
eyebrows raised in judgement
at all versions of you;

the young man in shirtsleeves mopping marble floors
beneath the crystalline light of atrium glass
does not look at you. you dare not call to him,
lest he turn around and you recognise yourself
and break the flimsy illusion of normalcy
you chant in a desperate mantra of denial
searching for the lifts, a sign, a door
a map saying ‘You Are Here’

the banner outside the seminar room
says ‘Welcome’.

you fall into a chair
weeping into softness
morphing anonymous
shedding memories on the carpet.

© 2020 by Davian Aw

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