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Growing Cold

Each time I think I’ve finally

done it, rendered my heart numb enough

that it doesn’t throb with grief

every moment that I’m breathing,

along you come again, smirking

like the cat that swallowed the canary, cracking

the cold shell in my chest and causing

the pain to flood through me in a hot flow,

bringing buried memories back up to the surface

and forcing life back into my frostbitten limbs.

Damn you; you can’t rest

and so you won’t let me, popping up

whenever it seems I might finally find peace,

a spectre of my past coming back

to haunt me and break my heart

all over again. Oh, I know

that you’re not really here, you can’t be,

and yet somehow there you are once more,

whenever I least expect it.

Ghost, illusion, fantasy; you’re the one

I’m still longing to see, though you’re long gone;

you’re the creation of my agonized imagination,

conjured of memories and mourning.

There’s an angel on my shoulder now

but you’re the devil in my dreams,

reminding me of what comes from doing the right thing

and urging me to return to the freedom

of my baser nature and reap the rewards;

you’re the voice purring in the back of my mind,

the one I hear echoing in empty halls,

dredging up the truth I’ve been trying

to bury and, in making me rebuke you,

forcing me to face it: Though

at times it feels like you’re

still here with me, I’ve lost you

and there’s nothing I can do. Here you are

again, and there goes my heart,

and this time along with the pain

acceptance comes at last: If I keep

numbing myself, cutting off all those memories

rather than letting myself remember,

letting frost creep over them until my core grows cold

because I don’t want to relieve the loss, soon enough I’ll be

dead like you.

(Previously published in Untimely Frost, Lycan Valley Press Publications, 2018)

© Sarah Cannavo 2022

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