By Magali O’Brien
Is that you, old friend? Lost out there in the darkness
Following my footprints
Hoping to be whole again?
My prints grow faint under the showers of time,
But listen, hear me, and perhaps we’ll meet again.
I thought I’d lost you in the depths of our family’s slaughterhouse.
Like a soldier, I buried you in our back garden,
Begging for your colours to return from the ground.
It’s you, oh it’s you, the courageous one who leans forward
To accept her kisses deep in that closet space
While the party churns outside our door.
It’s you who loves without shame
Who loves without alcohol or metaphor.
Hold her close for me in that dark night
Until we find each other again.
Forgive me, my steps are splayed and clumsy,
But I must go on.
My skin rubs on my bones like an ill-fitting coat
And there are times I wish it were possible to bring out a sewing machine and
That chafing, that friction… It leaves marks.
Oh, barely anyone believes me, but turn me inside out,
And you’ll see a poorly stitched tapestry of unseen scars.
Are you hungry, my friend? Shall I feed you all the uneaten dinners
At a table I would have been happier to attend?
My stomach holds rotting food with worms that consume me.
Let me feed you meals that don’t exist
Wait just a moment!
It’s been night for too long. Surely the light will return.
And you’ll be proud to see me
How I stand,
My hat in my hand, and the squared shoulders of my coat
Swept across my back, a regal cloak.
You’ll lift my chin and straighten my skin,
We’ll finally be together again.
And we’ll stand imperious and handsome as only cracked things are
For we were raised with unseen scars.
Illustration: Anna Kuptsova