The Shadow Boxes Back

Memories of you are artificial.
Your ghost reaches passed skin and
squeezes my heart through twisted ribs.
You are not what I remember.
Memories of your doppelganger
cling like old smoke…
Smoke I am loathe to wash away…
Smoke I suffocate in at night
when I roll over and sink in your imprint.
I forget about you for long stretches.
Then, all at once, I am arrested.
My pulse seizes. My eyes burn.
Your ghost shifts my insides
and the whole world turns
and the tears come hot
and the cry won’t stop
and the long, roping scars
rip open again–
pop.
You haven’t hurt me since you left.
You’ve been gone and I’ve been bereft
of a love that chooses to die strong
when it wants only to harmlessly
live on.

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