by Imani-Unheri Whyte
I have lost so much of myself to this feeling; it sucks all of the blood from my body. My frail bones protrude from my cracked skin. Dark circles highlight my bloodshot eyes. This feeling compounds with every faint breath that I take. Every time I move, the weight grows, and I flail helplessly on the ground. I ache for numbness, but I feel everything, so much of everything. I'm a ghost of a ghost, but all that I touch gets trapped inside of my transparent form.
I often wonder who was the girl before me? Did butterflies rest on her skin? Did flowers grow from her fingertips? I visit her grave every day, but her face is beginning to fade from my memory. I imagine her decaying skin, which barely covers her bones, wrapped in a dress made of cobwebs and dust. She withers away in her coffin as I wither away above her, and now I am afraid that I have become a drifter. I have no tether to this world. Volcanoes have already rained fire down on my city. I watched idly by while the flames reflected the faint sunlight that was hidden behind the thick cloud of smoke and hurled towards me. And now, I am standing amidst the ruins of my paradise. I lie on my bed of scorched roses, and I try to fall asleep, but I do not dream. My mind is as black as obsidian because there is no dream left that could ever rebuild my world.
I go to visit the girl's grave for the last time. I lay crimson roses against the dilapidated headstone; the epitaph has almost completely vanished. I look up at the sky and wonder if it recognizes me; am I just a blur on this vast earth? The scintillating celestial bodies have been abandoned in the vast darkness. These planets, these stars, they’re millions of miles away from each other, suspended in the ink-black sea. I see myself in them. In the swirls of their colors. In their downcast eyes. In the waning light that they emit. Their heavy sighs create goosebumps on my skin. I want to comfort them, kiss their heavenly surfaces. If I reach far enough, I think I could touch one of them and take it home with me, but I can feel the galaxy wrapping its tentacles around my limbs; it drags me into its murky waters, and I sink.
I look back down at the ground. The soil seems to be taking deep breaths. Rising and falling. Rising and falling. The ground crumbles as it moves up and down, sprinkling clumps of grass and dirt around the grave. I kneel and press my ear against the soil. I hear a soft thumping, a muffled heartbeat.
About the Author
Imani-Unheri Whyte is a seventeen-year-old Jamaican American writer currently based in Pennsylvania. She has been writing for pleasure for about a decade. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s normally watching cartoons or trashy reality television shows.