First Love by Jessica Holzhausen

Ephemeral Elegies

I dreamed again that you were dead. There was a hole in the ground and a coffin, some white flowers – you never liked white – and people I haven’t seen in 20 years. They still look the same. "It is my fault," I say and my dream-self feels like 16 again. Sometimes I can still recall your smell when someone passes by, a whiff of perfume on the bus. And the smell of perfume mixes with the taste of smoke. And guilt. You planted it there, nourished it, fed it and unlike your letters I can’t put it away in a cardboard box. As the morning light filters through the curtains, I try to chase away the bad dreams with better memories. I made love in your bed for the very first time the perfect, caring kindness the softness, tender kisses and heated embrace I have to recall with…

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