It happens like this —
I’m driving alone.
(Finally, thank-you-lord, alone)
The only sound my radio,
But muteness is overpowering,
And all the lyrics and notes and movements,
The bloody banging and shouting and god-knows-what,
Falter and go quiet before ever reaching my ear canal.
What happens in these moments is nothing —
No knowing, no hearing.
My mouth moves along as if I do,
My eyes twitch from rear-view to side-view to straight-ahead-view,
But I’m not even sure
If the light I sped through
Was green or yellow or red.
What happens in these moments is grief.
It sneaks up — the bastard —
Looking and sounding just like me, singing:
It’s ok, don’t breath,
It’s ok, don’t drive,
It’s ok, go ahead and sink into nothing — nothing —
No one will know.
No one will see it.
It can be fast, it will never be painless.
What happens in these moments isn’t just a physical remembrance
Or a twisted, belated eulogy for the dead —
It is for me.
For the pieces squandered.
For the minutes, hours, years,
Packaged and passed out
Like mementos at the bottom of a party-favor bag.
What happens in these moments is a step towards (self) forgiveness.
I need to learn to not strike a match
every time it hurts.