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Fingertips lit like a birthday

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Here’s to the boy who
waltzed my way out of a dark, empty street
and who drew me maps and taught me
geography (this city is our city, this river is
our sadness, and this restaurant is where you
taught me how to recognise the language of
every pulse of a heartbeat)

Here’s to the boy who
lectured me on an introductory course to
First Loves, and him who is the sole flame to
a harvest of dead branches, keeping me
warm at the dead of night—the time I think
of him, and his small eyes and his sunset touch
and his hurricane breath and his ugly enunciation
of the words goodbye, farewell.

Here’s to the boy who
played me guitar songs through his silence,
us naked on his bed,
more naked on mine.

Here’s to the boy who
wrote instead of talked, and whose eyes
were signal fires telling me how lost he felt,
alone on an island while I am
a thousand miles above him,
seeing him as a tiny dirt-pixel,
but loving him all the same.

Here’s to the boy who
slept with me on the cold, tiled
floor somewhere at a province
he’s always loved, while he whispered
me stories that reminded me of
my own childhood, and whose
closeness was like a run-on
sentence never perfected.

Here’s to the boy who
I wished
I have
never met.

Here’s to the boy who
I fell in love with inside the confines
of a movie theater, keeping me close
to spaces in which light was absent,
as if I were his least favorite secret.

Here’s to the boy who
held my hand against the backdrop
of a bookshelf, whose palms felt like
the pages of a badly-written novel.

Here’s to the boy who
smoked with me behind a dingy
shopping center, early evening,
as our lips tasted of apologies
and as the cold air felt like
a blanket that was ready to
separate us at once.

Here’s to the boy who
knew how to touch me like
his fingertips were lit like a birthday
candle, and whose smile
was like a big occasion
worth celebrating.

Here’s to the boy who
was like a Ciudad song—
“my emptiness”.

Here’s to the boy who
had pictures of himself scattered
on the walls of his room
and also on the corners
of my memory and on the
closed gaps of my heart.

Here’s to the boy who
distanced himself far enough
for me to miss him
until the day that I die.

Here’s to the boy who
made me carve our initials
on wet cement, as if our
love was made of stone.

Petersen Vargas, “Fourteen Boys”

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