Fighting Sleep

Written by: Hana Ryusaka

He doesn’t have to tuck her hair

behind her ear.

He loves the way it heaves

spread-legged and 

sweet with dried sweat, like crushed berries

on her pillow. 

She watches him behind interlocked lashes,

breathing slightly discolored because

he’s burning her lungs right now

with that faraway look in his eyes, like they 

were swallowing stars beyond her head

and she can only catch the residual grace 

running down his chin.

He has to touch her to make sure she’s tangible,

so he gives in and brushes a few strands

like brown leaves into a rusty pile by the pale 

picket-ridge of her ear.

When she kisses him, she can feel 

her eyelids folding against reality

and he’s tightening himself around

her to anchor himself to this dream

But they’ll never be this beautiful

with autumn in her hair

and the stars in his eyes.