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Letter to the Same Ghost

I can still see ribbons around my
arm from your fingers,
eternal ornaments like a wedding ring.
You tied them around me while you asked,
with tears streaming down your face,
“Why can't you give me more of you?”

Even when I look at him, I can't forget you.
I melt instead of freezing when he says my
name. His knuckles are gentle across my face.
He only plucks guitar strings with his fingers.
I worship his hands, but have to ask
why yours still can make my stomach wring.

A little voice that should only know ring-
around-the-rosies discovered the words, “You
hurting, Sissy?” My baby sister asked
seeing the pictures of my
fear for you. She placed tiny fingers
on my legs, curls hanging in her face.

I hope that fact is impossible for you to face,
another princess thrown into your ring
of fire. Aren't your fingers
tired from prying us off of you?
You looked into their eyes and my
eyes and spoke. “Do you trust me?” you asked.

When you disappeared, people asked
me when they might see your face
again. When you ran away, my
pulse ran away every time the phone rang.
When you were finally gone, you
were nothing but empty space between my fingers.

Believe me, when you shiver I feel it in my fingers.
I ask the same question you ask
everyday: “Where are you?”
I feel your father's hand on my face.
It leaves the same sting, the same ring
in my ears. Your pain is mine.

Every morning still, your fingers reach out from my
chest and you hand me my promise ring.
I never asked for that diamond in place of your face.




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