Oh these ghosts that haunt my eyes.
Oh these sights no one else sees.
That face, one and many, spliced
in broken mirrors, leering fragmentary
through doors and shining glass.
Legion the lurking demon with hollows
for his sight: terrible, unblinking, grim.
None have eyes for his shadows;
and I have eyes only for him.
I remember. I cannot cease remembering.
Every nerve and neuron on fire with memory,
always and everywhere repeating, repeating.
Like some gaping void into which all light endlessly,
endlessly must go; all thought and all strength must go;
where I return unnoticed to the empty fright
and disappear without a word into the unknown,
into the unknowing, uncaring, obliterating night.
Bare the fearful gasp that permeates
each present moment with my memories:
trembling and thin as it spirates
and spirals. Each hour bent and breathed
with the broken spirit of the past.
Time prostrate before the power
of blood and terror and the last –
breathless hemorrhaging of the hours.
Quietly I shake under the dead gaze
of the night, the hollow face, the broken
moment. Silently the terrors shift and graze
my covered ears, and whisper a soft token
of endearment over the clutch of my hands.
Inaudibly I quake before the recollected harm,
which gathers to wake me and command
me to depart again to its bewitching arms.
My fingers grip the edge of time,
and desperately I try: not to go, not to go
endlessly and repeatedly away – not to find
that face I see and that voice I know.
Clutch the painful threshold, that brink
that fills me to the brim with tears and
rage and terror: too much to think,
scrambling for the safe hold or hand
to keep me from falling again to the memory
of that time, that boundless hour, when no one caught me.
Anne M. Carpenter