I found that we were raised in an abandoned city torn apart by the pessimists who were famished by lack of dreams and the impoverished who sold their hearts to fear. Graffiti marked most of the half standing walls with messages written by disdain. "Escape if your soul is still breathing" didn't make sense to me until you left. I sometimes walk the littered streets on nights I can't sleep. Only the quiet crunch of long forgotten desires beneath my shoes keeps me company. Not that it makes a difference, I'm alone in the day when each familiar body waves and each anguished face forces a smile. Many of them still ask about you. I simply tell them that you were the only streetlight in this god forsaken place that never flickered or faltered and you're helping others find their way home now. I frequently pass by crumbling buildings with most of their windows shattered. Some by my hands from times I've pounded the glass and begged to see your reflection instead of my own. I would bandage my knuckles and admire the collapsing roofs on churches you used to tell me could've been salvage if anyone here had faith in something other than sitting on front porch steps and retracing daily routes. I can hear your voice when I take every step that's harder than the last. "Everything gets worse until it doesn't." If I listen close enough I swear I can hear you sigh as I kick empty bottles on the sidewalk left by those who consider our hometown an empty bar at a funeral anyway. I stop and watch sunsets on evenings your absence is heavier than most. Eventually I walk the familiar path home, but there's not always comfort in the things you know. I lay in bed with half hopes that one day miles will become fragmented and dream the country itself has folded. I stopped screaming for you to come back in my sleep when I started praying to whatever God would listen that you wouldn't.