J.M. Barnaby – What We Live For

J.M. Barnaby

What We Live For

          We weave from home
to home, and land, lying
on the tongues of this metropolis
and that.   But it’s not ambition
which directs us, nor is it the telltale promise
of comfort.   Instead,
we are creatures of grief—for isn’t it grief
that unsettles us, striking in the darkness,
crumbling the ground where we’re standing,
our only company in open spaces?
It’s the wish to not remember,
the art of reinvention, the slippery trick
of apology, an ache
so violent it could set the cities alight.
Someone once was careless to remember
a name, a face, even careless enough
to forget to be kind,
indifference was invented and scattered
itself to the wind.
It might be a product of what’s been lost,
but we are those objects
that have lost their permanence,
we’re the very things,
slipped from someone or somewhere.
Conversation, courtship, hands cupping
another’s face:   These are things we
have invented to insure the ache is dead,
linking, relinking, to replace
and be replaced.
Grief stretches and snaps,
it seeps and spills without distinction.
We carry it, hasten from it,
hoist it to our laps like a child,
blind to its unearthing,
our own absence that we mourn.

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