Sometimes I call myself a haunting
So I don’t have to use your name
Sometimes I see the ghost of you with fondness,
And sometimes with hate, but always with panic
You’re fainter now, they say it can happen to spirits
As they’re forgotten
And if I could exorcise this house made of bones and
Sinew and tears, I would but
Sometimes the rot can’t be cut out
just talked out and I’m talked out so
I’ve been rebuilding each room as another collapses
I’ve been drenching curtains in a scent I chose
so it only smells like I’ve been here
Not just painting over paper but ripping it down
shredding that thin skin over walls
One day there’ll be no trace you were ever here.
At least that’s what I tell myself on the days when
I am more scaffold than structure
With your muddy footprints trekked across my limbs
That can’t be scrubbed away
That seem to bubble to the surface in low lighting,
or low moods, or when I feel too purely loved
for it to be real
Which is to say, when I feel loved.
I have to resist the urge to tear it all down, sometimes,
It still rears its head,
Often your head is the one it rears,
which just sends me running.
But I’m not just running anymore,
I’ve been building for a while now.
Alex Howe is a queer poet currently residing in Brighton. Their work has recently appeared online through Young Poet’s Network and in print in Pilot Press’ Queer Anthology of Wilderness, and in multiple Eggbox Publishing anthologies. Follow their work at www.alexhowewrites.wordpress.com.