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Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

~for James Sizemore

were you out there
scouting the foothills
of my future
in another skin,
teaching me in echoes
how to laugh
at tragedy
too cumbersome to comprehend?

were you out there
parting the waves
like a ghost ship,
easing my passage
through rough waters
of emotions
my body wasn’t ready
to submerge its bow in?

were you out there
screaming for help
in a wilderness
where your voice
was swallowed
by encroaching trees?

somehow, your voice
still calls to me,
like a recording
played in reverse,
a gun unloading itself,
a noose unspooling
and lowering itself down
into the cave of my mind.

i know you’re up there
pulling me free
from the darkness,
to the light of another smile,
where you will clap me on the back
and tell me to stop
thinking of life
in such dismal absolutes.

in this dream
you are still alive,
there’s still time
to change your mind,
the warmth of the sun
on your neck,
the smell of tobacco,
limestone and pine,
and we are meeting
face to face
for the first time.

Written by

Provocative truth teller, author of 14 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at:

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