Sunday, 31 May 2015

A history of our ending

I found these floating around in my email from several months ago. I submitted them to an online poetry magazine and didn't get anywhere (a bit of a recurring theme with me) so here they are. I quite like them. It was an experiment in simplicity and I think it came off ok. See what you think:


I miss your knuckles.
That sounds strange,
But I liked the way
They grazed my cheek
So gently, despite the
Roughness of your
Weathered skin.

You seemed so
Hardy, a great oak
Of a man, and I thought
You'd set down roots
In my soil,
Tough and sinewy,
Like your brawny arms.

So I was surprised
When you quietly
Slipped away from me.
It didn't happen all at once,
But gradually, you receded
Until at last
There was nothing left.

I've seen your face
Since then, in dreams
Or trees or clouds, or
Other men, and fancied
You were still with me,
Still loving me the way
You once did.


In the nights that followed
Your departure, I drowned
In cheap booze, in the hope
Of drugging my addled mind.
And in the hazy, hopeless days
I woke up, blinded by the sun and
My own sorrow, unfailingly
Angry with the kids next door
For their youth and carelessness.

Your ghost hung bright and
Luminous on those nights,
An image burned behind
My tired eyes. A phantom,
Your weight was missing, though -
No hand on my stomach, no
Knees tucked behind mine, no
Mouth pressed to my neck.

The worst of it was the silence.
I screamed at the empty space
Where you should have been,
Demanding answers, and when
You failed to appear and tell me
Why, I hated you. I hated you.
I can't forgive you and now, for not
Forgiving you, I can't forgive myself.


I have a picture of you
Smiling, which you so
Rarely did, in the sun,
Near a lake.
There are trees
And grass and a picnic
Behind you.
You look so happy
And every time I see it
I want to
Hold on to that.
I want to feel
The way we felt then.
I want to smell
The air and the grass
And the strawberries
I imagine you picked.
I imagine the day
We spent there.
I imagine we made love
Under one of those trees.
I want to call to mind
That best of afternoons,
But I can't remember
Where it was taken
And now every time
I see that picture,
It kills me
A little more.

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