A Song for Redemption
My mouth is a cave, calloused with housing your name.
The overgrowth molds the air. I inhale
our memories slowly in
and out through lips parted
open. This is how we lived –
breaking like orange peel skin, edges inexact
and me trying to stitch jagged scraps.
Who was the last
to suckle sweetness, mouth around flesh?
The juice of everything I never told you
inching down my chin.
Imagine this overflowing:
light exploding as a thousand stars
sentenced themselves to the ocean. After you
died, I drank in waves –
tried flooding my veins to change
my inner landscape. Guilt.
I drowned, swallowed mouthfuls,
until I became drunk on ghosts.
Your name haunts the tip of my tongue.
A survivor’s guilt lump takes root in
my throat’s stem, threatening to explode
the cold I’ve learned to live with.
My heart named itself a stray
bullet, intent on rediscovering all the holes
no song was big enough to stop the bleeding –
heart, yours a black holeI spent nights trying to love out of you.
My fingers couldn’t grasp its edgesso I used my voice to unzip each scar
to climb inside your fear. I found us there
continuously swimming from shore through sea
just to be caught two-stepping on the fiery ship’s deck
while the radio plays our favorite song,
the one with the voice grainy –
breadcrumbs we can trace our way back
through any river, city, landscape, or
ruin. I can still taste the sound
in the search for redemption
(mouth full of ash) now I know
what it’s like to burn beautifully.