I Breathe Still

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For a minute or more, I was dead as you,

as you were technically dead

before the end was absolute—

before your brain conceded.

For a minute or more, my world was edged in blossoming dark,

engrossing, on the cusp of consent.

Blackbirds congregated, chattered ‘round my head, and

they called dibs on my vital organs—

heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.

One expressed explicit interest in

my spleen—

keen student of human anatomy,

morbid corvid.

Then a cardinal came with your breath on its wings,

and I breathed.

I just breathed.

I breathe still…

 

© Kindra M. Austin

image: Houston Audubon

 

 

 

For the Women I’ve Lost

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Nothing scares me.

I’ve built my house around those who haunt me.

Brick and mortar rises tall—a keep.

The older I grow, so does my fortress.

Soon, I’ll be left alone to revel in my ghosts in peace.

Soon, I’ll be left alone, where I belong.

Soon, I’ll be happy in spite of mourning.

Soon, I’ll hold them, and be able to feel their weight.

Soon, we’ll throw a party in the house I built.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: DeviantArt)

Last Judgement

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Come on down from there,

if only for a quick minute.

The last time I saw you is

unsatisfactory in hindsight.

Retrospection is a bitch dressed in my skin—

I’ve become leprous.

I may not pray to God, but I do

talk to Jesus. My words

fall on dead ears.

Christ will not come to me.

And if only for a quick minute, you will not

come down from there.

*

Your mother keeps on ringing me.

I don’t answer.

Does my cruelty hurt you terribly?

Some things I just can’t do to honor you.

To answer is to satisfy Jehovah, and I do not

wish to please Him. He’d used her willing hands to

ruin you. I’ve decided that

forgiving trespasses does not heal me.

Leave the forgiving to God.

Some things are simply

unforgivable

by the human heart.

*

You were both meaner and kinder than me.

I float about the in-between,

neither better nor worser.

Mother, how could you have

ever thought yourself

lesser than me?

You were my teacher—

the one who’d showed up

drunk every day,

but a teacher nonetheless.

And I wish you’d come down from there,

if only for a quick minute.

*

Come on down from there,

if only for a quick minute.

The last time I saw you is

unsatisfactory in hindsight.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Rick Richards)

Marbles

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Memories are marbles

banging against one another,

and bouncing off the walls of my skull.

I’m scrambled brains with a side of ketchup.

 

You were the same as I am.

Or I am the same as you were—

you’re dead.

 

Dead. What an ugly word.

Dead. Dead.

DEAD.

My mother is dead.

 

I’m scrambled brains with a side of ketchup, and

you’ll never again call me your baby girl. The sound of

your voice is just another marble…

 

© Kindra M. Austin

 

Anyway, Always

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Thinking about it now, I’m not the least bit

sorry for the hateful shit I’d said to you

eleventy years ago, when I was a kid

and you fucking knew better.

I rescind my apologies.

Not that my sorries ever meant a good

goddamn to you, anyway—

they were ever only as true as your own,

anyway.

Insincerity: a common factor.

 

No, that’s not true…the truth is complex.

 

I wish I hadn’t apologized so much for defending myself

against you.

And I wish you hadn’t rolled over so easily whenever

I called you out. I wish you’d properly raged against

the reasons you were the way you were. Sure,

you’d spoken of the ghosts that breathed inside of you—

warned me of them—but never did you

exorcise them. Never did you make them scream in terror.

 

Not that your armor went unused. You’d fought your best all your life…

 

I am greater than you had ever hoped to be. I’ve welded your chainmail

to my own, and I am running into battle with your heart sewn into my banner.

Mother mine, I know your truths; yours are mine, and I will defend them,

always.

 

I will make your ghosts and mine scream in terror.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

For Only Me

 

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Every day it does reign, a

perpetual decrescendo—

melancholic melody made for only

me.

 

Deluge of disquiet

comprises choral pessimists

repeating in my head.

Depressionist

percussionist

beats heart that’s damn near dead.

Dirges designed for only

me.

 

But!

Though it does reign—my

melancholic melody—I

seek the one to share

an umbrella.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Pinterest)