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A slow catena of ghosts

Ordinary Handsome

Oh, Maria, this road:
It has taken me to places
I never want to see again,
shown me a hundred fevered fields
bearing fruit through rough clay skin.
It is an untidy tapestry of blunted hearts
bound by the same heavy weave,
a slow catena of ghosts
singing what they can remember
in the words of their fathers
with the voices of their mothers
for the sake of their own unblessed flesh.

And here
the women write their children’s obituaries
with leaking ballpoint pens
across the back of old soup labels
and flattened cigarette packs.
They cry fierce tears
to keep their hearts clean,
and the weight of their courage
is immeasurable.

There is love here, you know,
that would break me and you,
and a faith that would exhaust us both.
But I am already broken and exhausted,
and, oh, Maria,
I just arrived here.

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