without opening your mouth

disappointment comes in many languages

spoken and unspoken—

disregard is bilingual, contempt, a relative

when I receive the notice of your death

it will hurt me more than it hurts you

irony that isn’t lost, how we yearn

for people who dismiss us without thought

absence, a permanent weave in our hearts.

I may not possess your critical eye

but mine bleed like a forgotten deity

every time I think of our living and being apart

from each other; the years, vanquished to dust

there is a familial echo of unrequited need, rattling

down the corridors of our broken family —

with every generation; pain multiples and repeats —

another era ignoring the last

I always wanted to stop this poisoned trait

the carved caramel yoke of unnecessary loss

but only succeeded in carrying its legacy on my back.

You won’t quit repeating history, it’s what you do

inculcation affects everyone, even those believing

they march to their own drum, it’s a fallacy—

we’re all beholden to some fragment of the past

even as those puppet strings appear unstrung

yet, every time I stoop to eat a bite

my mouth is already filled with ash

eyes over flowing with wordless regret

it is possible to regret things you didn’t cause—

but somehow they found you anyway

ghosts with compasses; through us, they walk

and away away away they lead

into forests of needles and softening gloom.

I want to find you before its too late

I want to shake you back to love—

live a year, a day, back in your surround

but you cannot lead a horse once its startled

if the storm still cracks white over head

igniting tops of trees aflame with unceasing rage

and you know; no love was ever present

just the motionless grief of—

never being enough.

4 Replies to “ghosts with compasses”

  1. This demonstrates a perfect understanding of such a sad photograph.
    “when I receive the notice of your death

    it will hurt me more than it hurts you” is a most poignant couplet

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