A slow catena of ghosts

Oh, Maria, this road:
It has taken me to places
I never want to see again,
shown me a hundred fevered fields
bearing fruit through rough clay skin.
It is an untidy tapestry of blunted hearts
bound by the same heavy weave,
a slow catena of ghosts
singing what they can remember
in the words of their fathers
with the voices of their mothers
for the sake of their own unblessed flesh.

And here
the women write their children’s obituaries
with leaking ballpoint pens
across the back of old soup labels
and flattened cigarette packs.
They cry fierce tears
to keep their hearts clean,
and the weight of their courage
is immeasurable.

There is love here, you know,
that would break me and you,
and a faith that would exhaust us both.
But I am already broken and exhausted,
and, oh, Maria,
I just arrived here.

16 thoughts on “A slow catena of ghosts

  1. Beautiful and powerful, Steven.
    “There is love here, you know,
    that would break me and you,
    and a faith that would exhaust us both.”
    I think that is true if we take a moment to look deeply. I love how deeply your writing digs into the human condition.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Diana. I think about the families separated by Covid-19, separated by cages, separated by barriers and borders. I can’t imagine the bravery and faith it takes to hold it together. I think there is still a tremendous amount of courage out there, impossible to measure, but enough to hold things together for now. I’m glad you’re hanging in there. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

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