i remember the anguish of space—

standing half a step too close to you

under the copper light of streetlamps,


with every word and gesture, feeling

surprised by how my hands would strain

against their own skin to touch yours


in those moments, i understood

what rothko wanted to paint—

“the big emotions” he said


“tragedy, ecstasy, doom”

all of them at once encompassed in

that small thing, the space between colors


i wanted to show you how tenderly

the pink stripe seeks the fingers

of the floating orange square


i wanted to say, “here, look.”

do you see how exquisite? this

boundary, permeable and porous


like our skin, close but not close

enough, in my memory always lit

with the copper tint of streetlamps