when she sleeps i stay up to stare, taking deep breaths to add the scent of restfulness to memory. she almost seems beautiful if not for the tears escaping the race from her nightmares. i put my arm around her waist and pull her in as close as possible, until we are squeezing ourselves. whispering i tell her to wake up and write, to purge herself of the pain and to paint what she imagines is joy. opening my eyes i’m reminded that i’m the ghost come to visit myself. reaching up to my face and scratching away at the evening’s train ride i sense the clouds rolling in and tell her not to wear makeup today, remind her she’s beautiful even as sorrow creates pockets of swirling darkness around her already widening pupils. i blow in her eyes to normalize her gaze and watch as she gets up to take a cold shower, always hoping the jolt to her system will realign the brokenness within. i make the bed and count her blessings so she has a lot of numbers to work with when she emerges. she gets dressed while looking through me and i forget which of us is the ghost and which of us responsible for showing up in the world. sometimes i put on the microphone just to remember what we sound like together.