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Keep Art Alive :: Art by Kelly Vivanco

“And I am a writer,
writer of fictions,
I am the heart that you call home.
And I’ve written pages,
upon pages,
trying to rid you from my bones.”

It would be easy to say that I never think of you, that the past is back there in the shadowy fog of yesterday, boxed up and forgotten, dust-covered in an attic somewhere. But easy and true are rarely compatible, and the act of writing often summons up ghosts and demons from before, resurrecting my feelings for you in vivid splashes of color and coming in to focus photographic memories.

You sneak into my words without warning, or permission. Blue eyes peering out at me from the darkness, hands shaky in the cool midnight air reaching for me, tangling in my sun-streaked hair, that first taste of you on my desert dry lips. We hit the water together, the shock of chlorinated cold jolting us, or maybe it was the way we felt together. No kiss ever felt like that before, or since. It was the stuff of throwaway romance novels, torrid and page burning, the kind we would highlight in junior high and pass around, blushing and giggling, and secretly wanting.

I was changed that night. Some might call it ruined, as no one would ever make me feel that way again. We were unexpected, and you are unforgettable, it seems. Sometimes I think I’ve lost you for good, but then I find you in the crook of a character’s smile, or a reflection in a wide-eyed girl’s eyes. You show up in the fifth line of a poem, or in the ashes flicked off a dreamed cigarette. Mostly, though, you reflect back at me when I think of love lost, paging my way through the words,and roads, not traveled. I don’t subscribe to regretting, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have a few.

They leak in to my sentences and turns of phrases, just like you. Even now, today, here you are, making an appearance again.

I used to think I’d want to run into your arms if I ever were to see you again, but today I think I’d rather kick and scream at you for never chasing after me, for never leaving me completely, for haunting me like I was some red inked horror novel waiting to be turned into a midnight movie feature. You crept under my skin, you reside in my bones somewhere, and try as I might, I can’t seem to write you out of them.

Engine Driver :: The Decemberists

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