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Lean into a Shadow

You gather with mourners in a kitchen.
You gather with mourners in a parlor;

everyone drinking beer and whiskey.

A young girl glued to the kitchen chair,
too young for spirits, yet old enough to
know you did not want to hug her, your
own child.

She watched you laughing, drinking – all
of them talking as if she wasn’t even

there – as she stared at you – her eye’s

if they could kill – would have.
She watched you stand, leave
the house, smoke one cigarette, your
head watching your own feet scuff dirt
behind the old barn.

Your fake sadness, as you sucked
beer, downed shots of whiskey, it was

just another drunken day.

A few people really knew you –
those – who never reached out to comfort you.

She cringed as you placed her on your lap –
to comfort her –
She cringed as you hugged her.

You thought it was just another day to
drink with friends, laugh, hug the one you
should have loved.
Then you bounced a baby on your lap,
sitting next to the girl at the table – hiding
from your eyes.

They should have put you inside
a wooden box – not her.
Your eyes darted in her direction – she
turned to look the other way.

You stood above her, touched her
shoulder, today, she tells about shivers
up and down her spine. I tell her how I

leaned into a shadow, to hide –

No one in the kitchen or in the
parlor – really knew you. All
of them grieving, spilling drinks
on velvet chairs –
enjoying food neighbors shared.

Obvious – she detested you,
She said you were invisible, long ago.
So God blessed the child you bounced
on your lap – removed her from your care.

Your disappearance fit perfectly
in your scheme of things – although
no one wanted you to stay –

Twenty five years for her to notice
you – a stranger – slumped over,

shorter in height – leaning into
your own shadow, on her
wedding day.

A sunset to the West,
your nothingness of face
preserved sanity.

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