Burying the Dead

Just not this year

I didn’t think it would happen this year. Not that I thought I wouldn’t think about it, I just hoped it would come and go before I realized it.

But then the lights went up, and the ghosts came down.

And there I was- standing in the middle of the store, trapped between boxes of stuffing and cans of cranberry sauce that towered over displays of pumpkin pie- sinking to my knees, watching them die…one by one by one.

But we weren’t going to do this again, remember? That was the deal. I just had to make it through one more Thanksgiving and one more Christmas, and then next year would be happy. This year would be happy.

But it was too late. The countdown had begun, your ghosts were released, and all of us were going to hell.

Back to the accident, November 20, 2016.

But this year, it’s more than just the memory of it all. It’s now morphed into this fucked up source of shame. I mean, honestly, it’s been three years (or is it four?) And they’re dead, and you’re not. And it’s time to move on.

And then it turns to guilt. Because what kind of person could just dismiss it and move on? And then the rage comes because I keep ending up in this horrible place. And I refuse to live stuck in the past, but here I am. And I don’t want to write about it anymore.

But every night, they find their way in, under the covers and into my head, taking every thought prisoner, and stealing my sleep. And this is the only way they’ll relent – with an offering of peace.

And the hope, maybe next year, they’ll let me bury the dead.

It’s always the same scene that haunts me. But, it’s not of the accident. It’s a memory I’ve never had, in a place I’ve never seen.

I have no idea what his house looked like or how big his family was, or if he even celebrated Thanksgiving. But that’s where I go, to his living room- his family seated around a long table, lined with white porcelain plates with matching bowls and platters, all strategically placed around an elegant flower arrangement, candles on either side.

A younger version of him, maybe his little brother, strains to grab the bowl of stuffing his mom is passing to him, both reaching across the empty space between them, the one she always sets, where he no longer sits.

Dalí came to mind,
As I studied you from the side.
The way your head tilted back,
Pouring down your spine.

On my knees, shivering
Staring at my phone,
Pulling up blades of grass,
One by one by one.

The silence mocked me-
Staring at my phone-
It wasn’t going to ring,
No one was going to come.

Could you taste it, the smell:
Charred rubber and gas?
Could you feel it, the injustice…

I was holding my breath, while you were taking your last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same place she always sits, that’s always set,- scene isn’t any less tragic. have been all the trees piling up ont or  feeling in my sto

Echoes of Paris

I pushed through the splintered door- weathered from centuries of rain and neglect, that never seem to relent. The smell of Frankincense and Myrrh lingered, cutting through the damp chill and deafening silence echoing across the room…

The day, beginning its end,
Poured through the stained glass.
Drowning out images of sin,

And my redemption.

Flooding the room with gold,
Holding the shadows at bay.
But forcing my eyes to close.

And your resurrection.

 

paris.girl.                                             
                                                   * Painting by Emanuel M. Ologeanu
                                                         

 

* Painting by Emanuel M. Ologeanu

 

 

 

 

 

Resurrection

Take me there, where nothing is familiar,
And everything, an adventure.

Where foreign languages swirl around us,
Exotic music spilling into the streets.

A world away from fear,
So deeply entrenched, we dare not risk,

Leaping, falling…breaking.

Take me there, unabashedly,
And dare me to do something we shouldn’t.

 

Peanut Butter

They all won’t be sad, promise.

And for those of you who have already read this one, apologies for the repeat. It’s just, I took the first bite of my apple…

Mushy apples, wet peanut butter, cigarette smoke.
Plastic straws, caged animals, tree stumps.
Distended bellies, oppressed souls, false hope.

Hiccups, parking tickets, splintered wood.
Sirens, screeching brakes, raised fists.
Apathy, the sound of pain, someday I should.

You deserve the best, cold feet, flights home.
Bad timing, broken promises, empty words.
Twilight, sleeping alone…waking up alone.

Heather.Horton.Girl.Bed

Illustration by Heather Horton

* Cover illustration by Ashley Bowersox

Cream or Sugar

Maybe in another lifetime,
Our fates liberated from the confines of continents,
The injustice of timing,
The pre-existence of her, him, and them.

Maybe then…

coffee.window

                                                                                                       You’d know.

Texas

I truly believe that people come into our lives for a reason, at just the right time, to enrich us in some way- to steer us in the right direction, help us realize our potential, and remind us to live and love fully.

But sometimes, these lessons are as painful, as the reasons are unfathomable. And their messengers, more menacing than we thought humanly possible.

I might never understand why he came into my life and what lessons I was supposed to learn, but I do know this:

These messengers can try to strip us of our dignity, shatter our hearts, and reduce us to ashes.

But know this: we are the fire- the embers, and the ashes, and out of the ashes, we will rise, hellbent, with grace and grit.

And We Will Burn. 

TEXAS

Texas.Final.png

 

 

2 A.M.

You laid on my chest,
Counting the beats,
As I counted yours.

Smiling, I waited,
Hoping you would say,

I think they beat the same.