Joseph R. Trombatore

it is quiet
walking among my own history
that are no longer a part of where I am

a survivor held captive
like a caged bird
caught in a crossfire
of reason & refuse
or a raging lion
crouched among tall grasses
preparing for the tribal kill

in this
small space between my bloodied knees
& yesterday
stumbling over appliquéd angels
a Mother's son
a Father's daughter
stitched in reds & blues
colors of a whisper
laughter of an embroidered chrysanthemum
a crayola balloon
the flag of my heart neatly folded
telling me
how old you would have been today
snapshots of the last candle
being blown out on your cake
the smudged out footprint from turning around
& saying goodbye
or simply just walking on
where fingerprints become clean & unnecessary

it is just
another serenade with new steps to learn
walking among so many ancient stones
where strangers take rubbings
dig after heavy rains
numbering bones so close to water's edge
then gently cover back up & tuck into bed
like autumn bulbs
congratulating themselves for such a job well done

we have inherited tears too thick to expel
forgotten who our Fathers were
counting rings on felled trees
pulling on weeds with roots
that spell out names
no one will mention

with you
like a heartbeat
walking among so many ghosts
whose hands no longer feel
eyes no longer see
these ruins I stumble over night after night
hushed voices that I map out in the dark
names that sleep never separates me from
playing over & over every sharp & flat
a symphony of pillaged fortresses
the same siege of another day
hearing the snap of my own bones
my own blood turn cold & thick
an epitaph in fabric
a flag
a heart
flying at half mast

Return to Archive