Anniversary by Amber Koneval


green chalk flakes off my back window

the microphone squawks

the feet shuffle in the wet grass

as the wind seeks shelter beneath my coat

robbing my warmth

as if I had any

as if I had anything to offer today

but empty memories and faceless regret

the children laugh, and they sing off key

and you can hear the parents grinnning they’re faking it so hard

and I wonder if it’s possible that

he

ever smiled like that.

were his smiles so plastically

brilliant

that they blinded us to the

space

behind his glittering

teeth

filled to blackness with unspoken words

finally silenced a year ago today?

was he ever so desperately happy

or did we just imagine him to be

because to admit that we had seen

the dull, sticky red throbbing

choaking out his words

is to admit that we ignored it

desperately, maniacally content ourselves

until it rushed out of his lips

onto the floor?
why is it now that we love him

our memories tainted rose

when he is no longer here to taste it

the love

that we claim to have had

the love misplaced

growing out of tragedy’s ashes

such shallow roots

with the illusion of forging deeper

memories we alter to bury our guilt in his grave

lavishing love we had witheld

useless treasure in an empty void
from the hearts of those

who had abused

and those who had known

those who associated

and those who had been ignorant

all joined together beneath one name and one anniversary
for the true face of which is different for everyone-

the face is fear

inevitability

remorse

acceptance

regret

and

highest of all

escape

Amber Koneval

-Published in Farsighted (2010)

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