you forget yourself

I often forget who I am
because she is ash in the ground
and I am here among the living dead
like the sorcerer's apprentice
sweeping drowning sweeping
under the couch and under the dresser
out of sight and out of mind
until it builds and churns and builds and -
And then the night when the bottle isn’t enough
and I remember the weight of a loss 
that chains me to complacency 
Worry is my mantra
I greet it every morning
We grip each other’s hands
 in a cordial arm wrestle
The trauma to my body
which i indulge so selfishly 
is a thing that i hold dear
is a thing that i so hate
is a thing i long to let go of
My nightmares are my friends that I have pushed away
I look behind me to see how far I’ve come 
and look ahead to see how long there is to go
I turn to loved ones to find the love where love was lost
And then I turn to my grief all over again
Oh, it is always breathing down my neck
My forever companion, my ball and chain
It's not so bad that she isn't here
and never will be here again
not when there is the shadow in the corner
who could eat my eyes and brain and mouth
who could hold me down until it's light
not when there is the beating bloody heart
and the blackened severed rib
and the horned three-eyed face watching me as I sleep
Yes the nightmares are there and the nightmares are scary
but the things that haunt you most are memories
and the kiss of a mothers' lips
A kiss I will never, ever feel again
No matter my religion 
or my hearts' desire 
or my physical ache for the contrary


She is gone and I am here
the never-ending nagging of loneliness and despair 
will stay there like an anchor
tethered to my heart until I return to her -
to the unknown, to the earth, to the ashes

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