Seven Things You Have Helped Me to Remember, by A.L. Blacklyn

1. This quill, the first item I can pick up using some memory of hands.

2. Hands: two with four fingers and a thumb on each. My fingertips aching when I wrote and wrote until past dawn, as they ache now when writing, despite how my body must be rotting away.

3. Rotting bodies. What did we do!? I remember hauling corpses in carts while you scratched ink in your pocket books.

4. Your pocket books. I’ve found again your silly doodles of figures beside fading brown stains, like tiny ink ghosts straining to push grave dirt back off the page or posed in exasperation.

5. Exasperation, performed for you as you made everything better—even death—with your sketches and your smile.

6. Your smile, not edged in pain. Or has my memory smoothed it? Have I always caused you pain while you soothed mine, generously refilling the emptiness?

7. The emptiness in my gut that I could not ignore when you were near. I had to stay close to you. My guts are food for the earth; still, the only peace for me is in the warmth of your living palm accepting my ghostly touch.

A.L. Blacklyn regularly sits in the shade of woodlands to weave together emotion and words. Their poetry has previously been published in The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Frozen Wavelets, and Polu Texni.

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