Grave

i. We were five; eyes were bright and cheeks were flushed; young life’s blood unable to contain
it’s excitement.
We ran through the graveyard because we couldn’t feel the death under our feet,
anymore than our mothers and fathers could feel our freedom.
There were butterflies on my fingers, sugarplums in his head, and monsters under her bed.

ii. We were fifteen; eyes were always kohl-smeared and lips pouty; weighed down by “teen angst” and the want to be wanted.
We no longer ran through the graveyard because my mother said it’s disrespectful,
so we watched the frost settle over the headstones and felt our bare feet go numb, nerves and uncertainty tumbling around our baby-teen guts.
There were ink stains on my fingers, white noise in his head, and old toys stashed under her bed.

iii. We are nineteen; eyes are blurry and hearts are sometimes too heavy for our rib-cages to carry without cracking.
We can’t go to the graveyard anymore,
because now we recognize the names and feel the weight of “unfair” pressing into the soles of our feet and the souls of our souls.
There is nothing but time slipping like water through my fingers, desperate prayers in his head, and a bottle of pills under her bed.

iv. I want to stop the clock and rewind;
Put another hand between my fingers.
Whisper soft hope into his prayers.
Drown her pills while she’s asleep.

v. There is a light beyond the headstones in our heads,
the water in our eyes,
and the gravel in our voices.
We are not tainted.
Our blood still waits eagerly beneath our skin
for a life to
begin.

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