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You’re the gasp of air that each drowning lung cries,

and when I see your face I feel the sun inside me rise.

You’re the shadowy outline of a waxing crescent moon,

ready to be seen, but never too soon.

You give your laugh and smile like clouds raining on the sides of mountains,

and never mention a word of it before softly floating off again.


Your words are soft and smooth but their meaning is solid;

well-thrown stones dancing lightly over a deep pond.

I like the way you say my name

and the way you say “You have nice eyes”

There is trust in sharing deep fears, true fears,

and it stokes a new fearlessness.

One where you’re not afraid to tell every crazy thing.


Then your eyes sharpen and they dive into me this time.

You tremble as you begin a rant you’ve never been brave enough to share

You start by telling me never to say anything that doesn’t need to be said

And most of all never make empty promises like

I’ll love you forever”

And you start to rage that it is an empty meaningless phrase, uttered by people

scared to give up everything with abandon to for something uncertain


to mumble such nonsense cripples the word “love” at its core

by adding expectations

and robs the real feeling

for everything it’s worth.

Yes a promise of forever can only be said in one moment.

So it’s only good for that moment.

and only the weak, or feeble, or⏤worse yet⏤ ignorant

would ask for the security of guarantee like that.

A love guaranteed,” you say, “isn’t a love at all. And the forever part comes only in our efforts and choices.”


No, your love isn’t the tempest in the breath that spoke these words,

but the rubble and debris after the storm has calmed.

The ash left in the wake of a wildfire.

The beaches and cliffs battered by a persistent and relentless tide.


And, you know, the sun doesn’t promise to shine forever,

The ocean sends only one wave at a time, and

the liquid sliver of the moonlight is always changing.

And I’ll live peacefully in that moment your eyes stopped my whole fucking universe.

Billy Hafferty

Billy Hafferty is probably still hanging out of the passenger side of his best friend's ride trying to holler at you.

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