For Alisha

Walking past these headstones,

in this churchyard, I kneel, look back

at the little Presbyterian prayer

hall you used to frequent,

pristine white, with blue-cushioned pews,

its simple beige altar, grey steeple, little cross,

and a miasma of nostalgia seems rise from

the architecture, slowly creeping towards me,

the twilight complementing it. I read your epitaph,

“I’m grateful, and content now, as I was when I walked,”

it says, and I choke, holding back tears

because it’s true, I remember you holding

my hand when I was utterly despondent,

finding no beauty even in the simple things

like a cup of coffee, or a stroll in a picturesque

park with marble statuettes, or the photographs

we took of that crimson horned pheasant with its breast

like a red satin cloth embossed with little white

raindrops, you said, “Remember we’ll always

have each other, and I’ll walk with you, even if

we’re trapped in this prison maze of regret,” and that

was enough reason for me to start seeing

again. And it wasn’t something without, it

was a breathtaking, inner waltz of emotion

I got a glimpse of, warmth, and kindness

turning round and round on the floor of passion.

I felt it, so intense, and I can only call it love.

You fought a war with fate, refused bending

and bowing, rejected servitude, and stood strong,

and you still do, maybe not as something tangible,

but as an indomitable essence, a force that helps me

carry on even though I pass illuminated billboards,

country houses, and alleyways imbued with poverty,

reeking from the potholes, and bits of scrap alone;

but I still come here when I’m weak, when I forget

to remember, and find myself trapped in a paperweight

of a haunted existence, the swirling mass threatening to

overwhelm me. I come here even though something within,

maybe a part of you says, “Let go, move on,”

because I’ve never loved anyone like I loved you,

with my very being, and as I clasp that stone now

and wet it with tears of anguish, the cold, icy droplets

of Pyrrhic victory, leaking from a hypothermic

soul who longs for the fever of yesterday’s touch,

I want you…no,

I need you to know.

Originally published in the Spring 2016 issue of aaduna magazine.

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