there’s a residue of you
left here. steam-stained and streaked
venetian windows i look through
each time i feel the need to view
us in context.
a home built of memories
and monotony
and sawdust

i admit, the quiet moments were bliss.
i miss those nights
of doing nothing more than talking.
sharing the secret places of ourselves,
distilling down the mythic backdrop of our early interactions.
we were always the scene-stealers:
parents proud, friends encouraged
even our former lovers

you filled the empty parts of me
that i needed to fill for myself.
my death mask no longer has cracks in it, but even still
it’s not my true face,
it’s never been.

i am golden and ancient, lacquered
by memory and layered with history
yet immobile.
i’m buried at the bottom of the sea,
static and silent.
you tried to look for me,
but i’m barely recognizable these days.
your face is different now too, angled
and gaunt from daily servitude.
you had all the answers but no one to question you

then came that night, a cracking thunder
split the sky in two
you laughed and cried
and the cars just drove by.
an entire universe was wordlessly collapsing
and the only spectators
were the rain
and the moon
and you

you were starved by all these rules,
and too weak to see our reality.
you can’t have dreams of grandeur
if you never take time to sleep

so you slipped into the shallow end of the shore,
trying nothing more than treading,
and now you’ve been pulled out past the breakers,
swept into a violent and raging sea

we’ve both succumbed to our worst tendencies

nostalgia and sex
and the last five years
of memories,
the company we keep
the songs we sing,
these are all embedded with metaphor
in an attempt to add meaning
to tragedy;
real life just sneaking
into the margin of my writings.

yet your ghost feels soft
and firm in my hands.
your distant eyes
still don’t understand how
i made promises i could never keep,
and your waterlogged
body is out there floating
somewhere in the deep

we’ve both succumbed to these violent seas
we’ve both succumbed to these violent seas

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About Eric Skelton