When I wake from the dream and wrap my body in the fading warmth of your ghost. You bleed through my pores and my limbs tense as I wait for the longing to fade..
I stare at my naked refection, see your hands on my neck and grasp them, but they fall through my fingers like sand. I see your head on my shoulder, your lips curved into a tortured smile and my body trembles and begs to shake you off.
It’s one of those days when your name lingers on my tongue like warm honey, and your resurected whispers turn the air to black smoke in my lungs.
I can’t hear the song in my bones anymore. It was loud when you came and it screamed through my veins when you left. Now it bleeds, faintly, from my ears when I hear your name and I shut it out.
I kill the violins every morning when my arms search my body for you and they find the tune in every piece of skin you touched. I wash it off, I peel it away.
I believed, like a fool, that I could make you go since you left. I believed I could be rid of you. But you live in the corner of my eye and in the tips of my fingers. You live, devil, and I fear that death itself can’t be rid of you.
Fires burnt out, the silent warmth of settling ash thaws my fingers – at last. Brown eyes, released of their redness, turn green..
I can finally breathe with your name on my lips and my arms no longer beg do dig your grave. The grieving ends, and having passed through its stages, I can hang the enormous picture of us on the wall and stare at it filled with nostalgia, and not fury.
I reclaim my heart, then wrap it around you – thankful for its strength to hold, and to let go. I welcome the longing as my eternal companion and joyfully drink in its honour.
And there, on the edge of the high hotel bed – holding your head against my chest, curling your hair around my fingers – my heart learned a new rhythm. It’s a strange beat, uneven and convulsive. It shoves the blood to my head and halts the air in my lungs, numbs my fingers.
When I remember the look in your eyes or the reflections, the damned thing beats as if it wants to come out. It rings in my ears and shakes in my limbs, turns me stupid. I stand and I stare; I wait for the madness to ease, but lately it seems to grow longer.
I wish I could restore the old rhythm, but it’s lost. I left it at the door when I couldn’t knock. I left it on the bathroom sink when I sprayed your perfume on my arm and it burned; it still burns…
That night – our last – I cried in the shower, watching you wash off my burning skin, not knowing that you had crawled under it. I can still smell the perfume in the same place, where the skin is now peeling.
I said it.
Threw it in the grave, a handful of earth.
Whispered it from the noose, a last word.
I don’t know what to say to you. There are words rotting in my throat that I can’t let go, and they burn my lungs as I hold them. The fire you carried on your skin lit my eyes, but hell bloomed from it when you left..
It was closure we sought all those years ago. We didn’t find it. Instead, we found a door and pushed it open, so widely – it may never close. But my body crushes against it every time the reflections cling to my eyelids.
I am not ungrateful, we did it! Against life and the world we made us happen. And god, how we happened. But now I grieve your absence like an orphaned child; as if I’d never known it, as if it had been us since time itself, and the clocks have just shattered.
It was your concern for my happiness that turned the blood cold in my wounds. (I didn’t miss the indifference, but chose to ignore it.) Perhaps I’m selfish that I want to cause yours when you wish mine, severed and away.
I’ve propped my eyes open with rods and every word I write breaks another bone. I’ll write them until I’m flesh and splinters, so that your fire turns me to ash as it dies; isn’t this the only way I can kill it?
But the reflections will remain, carved on the grave and no fire will fade them. They’ll haunt, and haunt until there’s nothing but madness. Perhaps in madness there’s freedom. Perhaps in madness I’ll escape…
Don’t bow your head when you stand by this tree. Smile, and remember the steps you took through the forest, skipping and singing down the old path you re-build every once in a while, forever knowing where it leads.
Don’t bow your head when you stand by this tree, but close your eyes and slip through the noose. Forget the struggling limbs and the bulging eyes, and picture his tightening hands on your burning skin as your body gives up its search for another breath. It’s not coming.
You’ve laid my body on the cursed altar, and the ritual’s about to begin. This warmth is the start of the fire. Can you see the flames on the edge of the glass? Can you hear the screams, smell the burnt flesh?
Tomorrow the church will have turned to black smoke, fine ash drifting in the wind; and the shattered altar will shine glimpses of a wicked God.
But we are here and the church is sacred. It’s us..