When you say goodbye, the day is long.
It takes the time, in whole and parts, between the black, dull dark that slips behind an eye just before it flicks awake, and the softer dark--more grey, more endless--that presses it shut when all is done and there is nothing left but still and quiet.
How round it is. How soft. How lacking in edge and point and anchor. It drifts into distance. It walks away. It leaves, at its tail, a shape that would be familiar, even beloved, if only you could see it, or if it were there.
Stay ahead by inches, by shivers, by the space left in the absence of a single breath. It will eat you alive; it will devour you whole. Its mouth is wide and its jaw, when it embraces you (with all the time in the world), is as crumbling and insidious as bones, turned suddenly to ash.
Dust your face. Dust your hands. Press them across every minute, all of these and all of those. Leave their tracks, both smudged and pale, on the ones dredged up from oceans where they settled and drifts where they sit abandoned. They were orphaned by breakfast, lunch, and dinner, by alarms and dates, by errands, trains, novels, love affairs, noble ventures, accidents, and plans.
Examine them closely. These are all there are. An extinct species, the last and lonely, gone.
These are your cages, golden and fine. Hold them up and see nothing between the bars. Keep them safe, like relics in stone, like bones in dirt, like long gone moments pinned still under glass. Let them rust and erode, and even when they are so old, you might hold one up, still empty as the couch unoccupied, and send an explosion of birds (loxioides kikuichi) across the long and grey.