Word for word (I know you by heart)

On the other side of this page are ghastly words that crept through my window on the crest of October’s sinister chill. You know them. They are the same mutilated portraits of anguish you found among the ripped notebook shreds scattered around my room like butterfly wings the loathsome churn of memory, violent slash of vengeful ink. I remember cleaning up the massacre, bodies in my senseless hands to bury or smear with mud. And Light, I remember finding your soft penstroke resolute upon the black chronicle, your trembling attempts to calm and rock me to sleep until the terrible hive quit its thrashing. A blue wave of hope, I remember, curved over the places anathema hadn’t touched. I moved my finger over the still thin shard, trying to feel where yours had been.

And now again I need you to make good of all this vile refuse from an exorcism I keep undertaking but never carry out until the end. You’re the last open door in the corridor, your lips pressed to each nascent wound, your woven enchantments like lullabies that scatter my grief towards fallow ground. Still I gather the prismic miracles of your hand, the poignant mosaics and wise cadence you fashion from tattered photographs ransom with tears and scraps of self.

I remember weeping hours after you told me that you had burned your exquisite troves of poetry,because it made you bitter and seethe with doubt. From then on I’ve tucked each written offering into a secret pocket,
and lay my hand over the gap at night.

I remember you telling me on the last stretch of journey home to write down the phrase “slip of light under the door”, so that you could
imbue it into a greater body of warmth. These threads I wrap around my shoulders like hand-me-downs. Nights like these I recall everything you taught me of prayer and gift, a love you can whisper through gathered pages.



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