Last Hopes By Meriah Murphy

The deadline dropped on us
Like a dictionary on the basement floor
Stirring the dust in us
Sending it into a tizzy
Of gray confusion

It hangs over us like clouds
We forget because the sun went down
It stares into every corner of us
Boasting its permanence like a bubble
In a sticker that’s already been stuck

The deadline was assigned
Before we were even given the purpose

We become so unaware of ourselves
That our own breath surprises us in the cold
Our own fingertips feel strange
When they come together around a pen

We start to look for ourselves in the colors

When it rains, we taste blue
And we tuck that away
Until the next shade can land on our tongues
The sky glows pink as
Our brains swell magenta with anonymity

The deadline approaches
And we still wonder
If black would exist without white

How can we finish if we are not sure when we began?

We read letters we wrote to our future selves
On our forearms
And are shocked with the inaccuracy
We keep adding unnecessary commas
To pause time
Until doubt snuffs out our candlelight

We’ve been sleeping since
Through the deadline

And through two more
We wake up to the dictionary
Crashing on the basement floor
The harder we look
The more we swear we see our purpose
Among the dusty pages