he was not rash / not at first / he measured your breaths / built you into a puzzle, allowed you the challenge / of unlocking him

while you slavered like a clawed thing / newborn and wailing / running at everything full force / streaked in red

he has reached inside you / not with hands / but / plucked the firstfruit of your heart / passed it under his palm / revealing a fluttering bird / a rabbit / a scarf

his tongue bends light / twists shapes in the air / cuts knots / he has riddled his way out of death / and left it grinning

yet when you found the key it swung him wider open / than a pit mine / and you, still running / leapt / or fell / or threw yourself into the welcoming dark / as far down as

*

people are rabbit holes and you do not know, little clawed thing, you do not know what grows here that the magic papers over, you do not know what pain is so bottomless only a miracleman can keep clear of it, you do not know what he has kept secret even from you / all you see is the darkness, the lonely fall forever, but you are a wild beast and you fall and fall willingly in hopes of the end, the land where you can feast on the depths of his heart, where the riddles lie open before you and their answers are sweet / falling so fast that you scream, you beat your fists against him, and still there is no end, there is no –

*

i’m sorry / he said / as you landed gasping on the grass / i’m sorry / i miscalculated

as if it was he who did the leaping

he ruefully smiled / shone your wounds closed / and shut himself

i’m sorry / he said / as if a kinder him could unleap you
but the darkness shone between you brighter than light / bigger than you / or him / or even his words / even spells that twist starlight cannot undo this joining and you want the darkness again / falling or not / screaming or not / with a wanting worse than starvation

you leapt full force at him again and met only / slight breeze / kokyunage / one fingertip deflects you into laughter

the sun’s rays cupped / in the palm of his hand

Ada Hoffmann