Surviving

I’m supposed to be
among these massacre bones:
that’s where I was born,
after all, nestled
in a bleached nest of 
what was once alive, and though
I got up and moved on,
I was not whole.  Part of me
stayed back, remained
with these dead
who’d unwittingly cradled me
and lent me a certain air
of loss that I can always feel
even if others cannot tell. 
I measure every day
against that sense. Sometimes
it surges within
and I can’t take a breath
without the scent of old bones
filling me, choking me.  Other times
I can get by with only a whiff
or two here and there.  Either way
those dead held me when young
and still hold
all the essence I grew from:
the knowledge that I live always
among those who, if they’d seen me
in another day, would have laid
a sword against my infant neck,
a rifle’s barrel against my child’s skull,
and not held back.  I live 
always knowing how little it takes
to unleash that urge,
how easily they could send me
back into that massacre pile
if given permission and 
a flimsy rationale. Every day
I do not run screaming
to lock myself away
is a marvel; understand as well
that every day I convince myself
from dawn to dark
that you only look like them
and are not like them
is a miracle — not one 
of trust, but of magical thinking
and provisional hope. I make
no apology for that. You should
expect none. You
should do more
than wring your hands
when there are 
so many of these bones
still to be laid to rest.

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

5 responses to “Surviving

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