Missing You

The laundromat washer clunks
into motion. Foamy tears stream
down the glass. Slowly, my clothes
drown at midnight. Minus one shirt,
still clinging to my basket,
for as long as it smells
like you.

Ryan Stone

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gathers no moss

Sixty miles from sleep
those lonely road voices
wage a war in his mind. Guilt
ebbed two cigarettes back
when parting words blurred
to a single white line, and raced
out into the gloam.

An old Stones shirt is all he left,
torn like the heart it now covers.
And somewhere back there
a girl sits alone, forsaking photos
and dreams; hates the way
his shirt makes her feel,
knows she’ll sleep in it
all the same.

Ryan Stone

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Murder in Melbourne

In the Kings Domain,
while roses weep,
homeless hands invade
pale flesh, stain a sleeping city
crimson.

Winter’s rime freezes
blood
as quickly as it spills –
dismissed by ghostly walkers
who see consent
within the brume.

Tattered thoughts flee,
scatter on a breeze
like leaves spilled
over dewed grass. A moan,
a sigh, the frenzied grind
of stained denim
on lace.

Ryan Stone

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Paper Hearts

Eliza moved into the new apartment complex opposite my own drab building. She started at my school but we never spoke; the different shades of our skin made certain of that. I studied her whenever I was able. It was her eyes that always held me transfixed; they were an amazing splash of green, swirling and ever-changing as tide pools at dawn. In their depths lay a sadness that I could never quite reach, no matter how I tried.

On the day I saw her crying by her open bedroom window, I felt the weight of the slate sky overhead press down. I had never before seen someone so forlorn. Although I lived a tattered, hand-me-down life, I dressed in smiles and was clothed in laughter. Eliza was always impeccably accoutered but I’d never heard a laugh cross her lips.

As I sat watching, she glanced up and our eyes met. Instead of looking away like she did at school, she held my gaze while unheeded tears fell. I was in a rowboat, being dragged into a maelstrom. Everything in me urged me to dip my oars and pull back before I was caught in the whirlpool. Yet, I resisted and stayed with her until the storm blew itself out. Finally, when there was nowhere left for it to run, I saw the cause of Eliza’s sorrow laid bare in the depths of her eyes.

I signaled for her to stay by the window and quickly gathered supplies. I worked diligently on a red magazine page, then folded a newspaper into a plane and loaded its precious cargo. Once I was back by the window, a flick of my wrist launched it out over the chasm between our worlds.

Eliza’s eyes traced its arc as my plane gracefully rose, then seemed to hang on a breath at the apex. Inside that pause, I lived and grew old in a world devoid of colours; I married for love, raised children who knew how to draw pictures in clouds and laugh until their bellies ached for release. As the plane descended, its cargo released, to fall as heart-shaped rain.

Laughter drifted like wind chimes at dusk and a sliver of sunshine broke through dark clouds.

Ryan Stone

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The Darkest Night

The mind has many defences, she wrote
in her award-winning essay. Glowing,
she stood in front of her school;
movie tickets her prize.

Painted in shades between girl and woman
she kissed me goodbye with bright red lips
and joined her friends in line.

The mind has many defences, she wrote.
Maybe that’s why, in police reports,
many claimed they’d heard fireworks.
Odd in a cinema; the alternative
too grim to believe.

– Ryan Stone

First published in Poppy Road Review, February 2016

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