From the highest story

Of a building gray and cracked

Peer two eyes

Through dusty window panes

Pestered by a mosquito

Flying along the edges.


Below the eyes

A hand

Holding tin

Filled with coffee

Cold and strong—

A cigarette burning.


The fog of stagnation

Fills the room

As one wisp of smoke

Links arms with another

A silent dirge

Circling like vultures.


Her gaze is blank

She closes her eyes

Then opens them wide

Each closing a respite

Followed by



She sighs

She coughs

She smiles for a moment

As the mosquito

Bumps against the glass

Bruised and trapped.


Above her head

Noisy neighbors shout

The song of frustration

Rings out and falls

Pulled by gravity and

By doubt.


She begins to hum a tune

She has not heard

Since she held a doll

Inside chubby arms

And kissed its head

With sugary lips.


Her raspy alto

Lays itself on the notes

Her Now

Transposes the music

From major to

Minor keys.


The mosquito brushes past

Her hand

And then lands and

Sticks his needle

Into her skin—

She observes the transaction.


A flashing light—


Her gaze arrested

Handcuffed to a mirror

Reflecting the sun a

A Morse Code message

.-.. — …- .

Which translates, “Love.”


She dunks her cigarette

Into her mug

Shakes her hand

The mosquito falls

Disconcerted but



She strikes a match

Holds it to a candle

Thick and matted

Like a paint brush

Spotted with colors

Dried from previous use.


A thin line rises from the flame

Gentle in its approach

And dancing in the haze—

She lowers and raises her hand

.- .-.. .– .- -.– …



She replies

In this expression

They devised

From opposite sides of

The wall.


She blows out the fire

Puts her hand to the glass

Closes her eyes and

Kisses the air

As though it is

The last kiss in the world.


He lifts his fingers

Catches her lips

In mid-air—

Hungrily brings them down

Pressing their sweetness hard

Against his own.


The moment has passed

But their love

Will last—

Reach beyond time and space

Breaking past

The Wall.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson