Moments of Sincerity

Moments of Sincerity

by Hayley Boyle

The one who spoke with a heavy Slavic tongue,

who lived surrounded by books

and smelled the way a library does

who read to me long into the nights

while tracing his finger along my spine.

The one who lived near the El, where the passing lights,

much like his hands, would caress my bare legs

as I walked across his kitchen

daring passengers on the late-night train

to witness my youth in all its glory.

The one who, nearly twice my age, taught me

that there is a moment each morning,

as the sun peaks over the horizon,

when life is still, almost as if

meditating upon the meeting of us two strangers.

The one who told me on a stormy night that

our children would be beautiful,

despite us wanting none,

and swayed with me to the sounds

of thunderclaps and the heartbeats we’d never know.

The one who believed an entire ocean

couldn’t keep us apart,

who danced with me under neon lights

surrounded by strangers

after traversing halfway around the world.

I could call them regrets.

Or allow them to be what they are—

part of me, forever,

even if only moments

leading me,

showing me how to love completely, now,

without shame.


Featured in our September 2022 issue, "Loyalty"