Variable Star
by Ysabel de la Rosa

You shone: white dwarf by morning,
beaming radiance, but turned black hole
by late afternoon: consumed and
consuming, dark;
accepting no visitors,
refusing to talk, ripping
your mail.

You sucked in the smoke from
your cigarette and held it inside
as though you believed it could
and you could explode with it,
and the darkness
could fly out—out—
and leave you

Young again, a boy running
back and forth across a
white porch,
laughing and knowing
nothing of dark hours but
cool sheets, wordless dreams, and a
mother’s soft, long-fingered hands
stroking his curls
as he sleeps.

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