I SAY YOUR NAME TO MYSELF OUT LOUD
I say your name to myself out loud all these years later
and it tastes like a stranger in my mouth
like a bird caught in a chimney
beating its wings against black tin
like a word caught in the throat of the night
that wants to get out.
To you it looks like freedom.
But to me it’s an exorcism.
When I want to let my ghosts go
I just pick any dandelion in the fall
I don’t hang on to them any longer
than fire hangs on to its smoke.
If you take your delusions too seriously
you can turn a legend into a joke.
You smother a baby phoenix in its crib.
And I’m kind of glad
your lies don’t inform me anymore
about how unreliable the truth is
and I suppose it’s some sign of moral progress
when the liars learn to fib
in a halfway house for the truth
they can’t face up to yet
like methadone to cold turkey.
I’ve kept coming back to you
like a sexy soul to a cosmic body
every autumn since you left like a koan
that couldn’t overcome its doubt.
I haven’t seen you in years
except in my mind
but you still don’t believe me
over and over and over again
when I recall how I told you
things would work out.
The dream we wanted to be
wakes up from us
and moves on
like a scar
that thinks of the pain
of who we weren’t to each other
compared to who we were.
That’s the trouble with dreams
that lie to themselves
about coming true.
They don’t understand themselves
when they do.