Tōrō Nagashi

Your flame flickers briefly—
a parting whisper.
Some trick of the river
mimics your laughter.

We stand apart at sunset,
lost in natsukashii,
come together in darkness,
to watch the dead pass on.

Your light has fallen now
to shadow
beneath the bridge.

Ryan Stone

First published on Napalm and Novocain, January 2016

Published at Poetry Nook, October 2018, Nominated for 2018 Pushcart Prize

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Sleep

along quicksilver trails
thru the night
we tripped,

past the wall,
into the sky—

swallowed by infinity

Ryan Stone

The T-Shirt

She stares at the t-shirt draped over her chair. A replica Eames deserves better than Metallica. Of all the things for him to leave behind!

Clasped like Excalibur, a knife thrusts up from a toilet, Metal up your ass written beneath. Who would think of something like that? Who would print it? Worse still, who would wear it? She knows the answer to the last, having argued with him before countless dinner parties, Sunday barbecues, visits from her mother.

She swats at the shirt as she would a spider, gets slapped in the face by Armani as it falls. Now it lurks on the floor, one more dead thing in a week of dead things, until her kick sends it skidding under their her bed.

Hours later she listens to it whisper as sleep refuses her haven. If she lies just so her mind can ignore it, until a stray breeze blows a trace to her nose. She climbs from bed to hunt naked in the fragmented moonlight. The shirt is a cool breath on feverish skin, and she surrenders to heavy metal dreams.

Ryan Stone

In Passing

After all the years, the heart-shaped promises,
linked pinkies, a Ponts des Arts love lock
one Spring, it has come now to this –
a sterile room with its too-small-for-two bed,
plastic flowers, faint smell of urine.
She stands bedside, stroking and humming,
remembers spooning one night by the sea.
The setting sun caresses white hair,
tremors become twitches,
become silence.

Ryan Stone

The first time I saw her naked

I blushed, despite imagining her often
unclothed — long caramel legs
arabesque honed, perhaps a soft tuft
to cover their tryst. I’d dreamt
creamy breasts with rose petal tips
that would stiffen and rise
in the moonlight.
The first time I saw her naked,
I stood with her mother —
the woman who bore her,
and the boy who adored her,
alone with death in the room.

Ryan Stone

Sneewittchen

Ten small moons
blank as bone,
not bright enough
to guide her home.
Five above, and
five below
in the land of Fae,
where cold winds blow.

A coffin, glass,
her beauty case;
asleep at last,
the maiden, chaste.
A mirror’s truth
first planted seed,
from poison springs
doom’s apple tree.

Cloaked in night
her hunter lies;
a queen deceived
by fourteen eyes.
Grim tales weave
through bloody looms.
In royal breast
a thawed rose blooms.

Ryan Stone

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First published in Poppy Road Review, March 2016.

The Grey Mornings

I start at the sound of each car passing
on midnight streets outside;
hoping it’s you,

knowing it isn’t.
Dreams fade with your warmth
as reality slowly intrudes:
it would be enough
to fall into your arms
and know I’d wake there, too.

I am only real
when you are near,
but you never stay

and the grey morning is close
and mine alone.

Ryan Stone

 

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