When did you become an echo

I still find you all over me like red desert dust. Finger-traced maps of everywhere our skin collided. It’s been months since I’ve laid eyes on you, and yet in idle hours my mind still dances to your fading song. What is this hold you have over me? This claim you’ve made to the uncharted parts of my subconscious? You’re wrong for me, I know that now. An open flame to my feathered grasses. And yet my thoughts summon you during these quiet moments. My choice to flee made all over again.

I don’t want your visits. I shrug at the phantoms of your touch. And yet, some unbridled part of myself searches for you when the night falls still. I am vaguely aware of you moving through the world. The subtle sounds of a snake advancing in the grass. I am both horrified and exhilarated at the idea of you nipping at my ankles once again.

I try on the person you knew sometimes, just to see if she still fits. I squirm awkwardly in the parts that she made small to please you. I swim in the places she expanded to offer you too much. It’s a life that feels more like the memory of a book I once read. Nary six months and I can’t imagine having ever been here before, untouched soil upon a Martian desert. I’ve swelled in all the right places, streamlined where once there was excess. I am vaguely aware of you moving through the world, but I am as much a stranger to you now as I was when we met. 

I’ve tucked away the last year in an unmarked box. There’s no more I can do with the remnants I took away. They’ve either been dealt with or discarded as unsalvageable. Nothing about you haunts me anymore. And yet you linger. But not like a bad dream, more like a curious sensation. A part of a song I once heard. A really good taco I once ate. The feeling of a perfect breeze across my cheek. You’ve joined a collection of scraps that narrate my life, that come to visit when space allows. You’re another in a rotation of things I’d once been and places I’ve long left. Echoes of a cry down a long cavern. I’ve come to expect your calls, I just wonder when they’ll stop surprising me.

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