Linger

This room —
And the chiming of the clock
That brings them on silent feet
With their needles and
Stone faces —
Has shattered my belief.

With skin like paper
Soaked in a storm
Then left to dry in sunlight,
Transparent and so thin
You can see the blue beneath.
Submit to cold steel
And the clockwork precision
Of the unwanted visitor.

A suspension of belief
Meets a prayer
As the man in the mask —
Hard-eyed sucker
Of poisoned flesh —
Stands at the lectern
And exorcises His authority
While you sleep.

I would not remember you
Begging for mercy
Like this.

Instead, see the pink Easter dress.
She presides over
The Hunt.
Cracked eggs spilling
In a skillet.
The children look under bricks
For the prize.

Or swinging on the porch
In a polyester housecoat.

That smell of the gas furnace
And bacon
And dust —
It arrives when least expected
And brings you back like this —
Voice raised in praise.

How to hold on to these things
Is the question.
Put your name on it,
You said.
But those claims
Mean nothing
Next to memories
Dimmed
By what came
At last.

Don’t listen to them.
They can’t know
What your God wants.
On your knees,
You go ahead.
Ask
For the mercy reaping.

As you recline now
In earth,
Do you know the secret?
Or is your flesh —
Freed from the blade
And bindings —
Just a box
For something
That never was?

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About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

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