A skipped beat- so swiftly I remember
That rotted stump of tree
Felled in late September
Amid the pale anemones.
It’s stature carted, splintered, stacked,
And now reduced to ash,
Taken by a sudden attack-
A severing metal clash
There, the stump sat in grief
Impotent roots clutching dirt-
Rotting in its disbelief,
Nothing but scars relived its worth.
There, its secret hacked to earth,
It made a room for yours
Within the pulp of inner girth,
It contained its tragic stores.
How long the days have pressed to pass,
Wild adventuring laid to rest,
And I’ve neglected your crevasse
That rots now in my chest.
I haven’t called on you, old friend,
In the many lives I’ve borne
While the one that would not mend
Stays ever hidden through the storm
In the rotted husk akin,
Weak and weatherworn,
To all that might have been!
I’ve been smoking again,
Those cold inhales
Stir something ancient,
Something forgotten, but relevant
To who I have become
And they swirl in my chest
Poised like potential energy
Waiting for kinetic exhales
To reclaim the visible space
To claim what’s been renamed
As previously owned property
And I hold in the whorls
Proof of the world
I exhaled into ether
The invisible space that
Once held my face
Against my will.
I inhale the memory,
And exhale the ghost.
I smoke again.
I was your secret
while the sun blazed
I could keep it
while your crazed hatred
I was your secret,
through each new season
I refused to speak it
Fear finding new reasons to
I told your secret
here in the cold,
where the wind repeats it
to no one, and the old
world is dead.
I told your secret,
and some small child
inside me sneaks
to see if the wild sun
can burn here,
or if I’m as safe
as your secret has been.
I stare beyond civility with closed eyes
Because the dancing flickers of light wound them
I chase you free through sticky grass fields
The air is clean and does not yet burn my chest
We run to where the storm loomed
I see you kneel;
This is the moment I learned your secret.
And I return after you have gone to
Wander through the smell of rain on hyacinth
Slowly, now my lungs are wrong and the air’s so thick,
But I find your abandoned crevice of hidden treasures
And now I kneel.
The sun is gone adventuring when I get home
My sweater is shrunk and stuck to my skin
I’m in bed three days with fever and sweat and dreams
Sitting on my chest and taunting me,
But I have been out to see you again
At the place I know you will always be.
We covered it like secret fear,
Pranced and hid in the now and here;
Children giggling in a static maze,
Dancing through the twilight haze.
Under our fear of responsibility and impurity,
We harbored hatred for maturity:
Divided sympathies, diluted resolve.
We struggled to stay uninvolved,
But Father Time kissed our eyes.
Were our truths or our lies
Most bitter? I cannot remember.
In our tantrums we torched the timber
Of the pretty words we shared.
We poisoned ourselves, and dared
Each other to drain the drought
Starving our passion, feeding our doubts,
And aging us against our will.
How I loved you still,
All Roman marble, a chiseled face,
Pale skin carved in immobile grace,
Until you burst into flame again.
We couldn’t both burn the same then,
Or all would be consumed.
With murderous hands, I suppressed the bloom.
I buried our secret to the depths inside,
Pretended I’d grown and watched it die.
I feigned forgetfulness, aversion, apathy.
With intensity you fought for my honesty,
Pleading and shaking, tremors of breath,
But I was committed to the death.
Our common words took opposing inflections.
We ran our maze in opposite directions.
While in a grave unknown, I carried our bones,
The secret that kept me safe, alone.