The last night of December,
the winds rush heavily towards the dark moist forests.
Sunken cheekbones of the dark haired girl
still cling to my memory like flesh to withered ribs.
Water runs down the side of my face in an attempt to wash away
the sticky pains of ended loves, forgotten dreams, and
desperate last attempts to heal an infected wound.
Her eyes are dark glowing embers embedded in full black spheres,
telling all her little secrets with a breath of disillusionment.
She escaped from my grasp in a second, ghostly smoke,
like a long-awaited word floating away into fog.
Her mouth opens, agape, mouthing cries choked by tree roots and weeds
never to be heard in the thick brush of the Ozarks.
I have misplaced her, not knowing the intimate reason why.
Perhaps it was thick assurance that she would drown in sappy residue
of the thoughts that ate every last scrap of my heart.
Her voice, shrill, like glass breaking on a cold winter night.
(Reminders of my sun-dried dreams)
still echoes, reverberating;
still echoes, everlasting.
She is blinding in her silence,
white iced palms above her head
her home up in the air
on the edge of a busy road
drivers are slowed by the authority
of her stance and gaze,
the sureness of her delusion,
the reflection of themselves
she is all the sadness in the world,
a collector of the despair
as the world goes on
and is too quick to forget:
a child’s dismay, a murdered friend,
an unanswered door, a stranger’s tears,
a lost soul
Before I knew love
life was just air
my heart was holding its breath
and I waited.
I saw the ocean questioning me
back and forth, taunting.
I found the secret room
where the moon slept
insisting on her secrets in silence.
Everything was confused, lost, hidden
Life was living without me
and loved belonged to others
and to no one.
today we went through
the remnants of you
a box of school papers,
drawings of stick people
long and strong, mom and aunt
the pillars they were for you
I help your mom decide
what to keep and what to give away
we find your favorite shoes
the ones I bought
the day after you moved in with me
funny how shoes
can mean so much
a world of memories in worn red leather
and white shoelaces
I hug them for a while
as your mom reads a letter she found
where you confess your young love
but never sent it
did they ever know?
perhaps it was your secret
your entire life
reduced down to small flashes
kept in a box
I pick up a photo of you
when you were 1 year old
our bald copper-skinned baby
that always smiled at strangers
and ran to me whenever I was around
your sweet angel face
looks back with such innocence,
I find myself choking the tears back
for fear that your photo could see it on my face
that you would be diagnosed the next year
and carry the weight of a lifetime of
sickness and fighting for your life
with traces of happiness squished in between
my brave niece, never blaming
always finding ways to enjoy life
despite the hospitals, needles, and pain
always comforting rather than being comforted
your warm flesh and soft hand
my best memories of you
I put the photo down
and hide it in the bottom of the pile
so that you, my beautiful little baby,
cannot see the design
from the telling sadness in my eyes
that you would die at 19
and leave us behind
hugging your shoes
and reading your letters
and not wanting to let anything go
to hold on to each piece and fragment
so we stop feeling like we’re losing more of you
than we already have
In loving memory of
Hillarie Dawn Horine