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Companions in the Dark
There are people you meet on a stormy night
who you remember forever. They gather darkness
around them, flash and thunder in your ears,
then slip away. Yet you live out their stories
as if they were your own. How shooting drugs
or alcohol had triggered lightning, tongue and
finger. Confessions in a mental ward strapped to
a bed, babbling about betrayal, the Via Dolorosa.
Memories that don’t belong to you suddenly
familiar as pain. A public flogging by a sweating
muscled interpreter of The Law. A hundred
lashes, teeth clenched in an ineffable smile.
This is how I feel every time you come to me
pleading to share your story. There is nothing
I can give you now except my own. Darkness,
rain and lightning. An unlit intersection, monster
truck upon us, car spinning from the impact, your door
torn open, your body flying away, crushed under wheels.
A lifetime of flogging strapped to this bed has not sufficed
to numb my story’s telling. Will you remember me as I
attempt to share with you that stormy night. Will you wake
somewhere, reach out in darkness, hold my hand in yours?
© Johnmichael Simon
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