VIENNA

ANIKA PRAKASH

 
 

In Vienna you were there and then gone so fast.

Stuck between marble columns I called your name and heard

a question echoing down the streets and across the river.

Every postcard I sent came back to the same corner shop.

For every step away I found myself closer to the theater.

Those years I didn’t realize that everything is holy when you are

not. Those years passed in skeletons and cross sections.

I watched everyone run away and couldn’t bring myself

home. I stopped looking for you when weeks became months

and the blood in my mouth tasted like moondust

and the moon never changed. When people danced

near the river and cast shadows polar and linear, it darkened

from half to crescent until the current washed over it again.

Some days I tore blossoms from the trees just for some kind

of sadness. I was fifty feet from the train station

when the church bells rang again. Memory was a religion

even when I didn’t want to find you. I could pack my bags

and try to leave but I’d be sitting at the same café.

I prayed for distance and there I was again. How long
can you die for before you’re forced back into life?

Now the blood tastes like metal and the moon goes through

each phase. I’ve been running through this night trying to find

a footprint that isn’t mine, but the city still looks the same.

 

 
 

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