I see you there.
Standing in the shadows, arms wrapped tightly around yourself;
Holding together the frayed and creaking pieces of your world.
I see the sinews standing starkly at your throat while you stare straight ahead,
Your jaw aching from clenching your teeth.
I see you, curtailing any motion because you don't know which way lies the fall.
I hear your cries.
The ones that escape your pursed lips,
The ones that evade your clutched pillow.
The ones that slide invisibly from your eyes in the shower,
In the hope that the water will wash away the evidence.
I hear the muffled sobs that slip from the cracks in your heart in the dead of night,
Only to fade and die in the space on the other side of the bed
That should never have been left empty.
I hear you, whimpering in your sleep.
I feel your rage.
The burning, blackening, impotent fury
Misdirected at the one who didn't know
Instead of the one who knew too well;
The one who should have known better.
I feel those whirling, unruly urges to strike with frenzied fists
At the phantom presence that still contaminates every aspect of your life.
I feel you and the force of your silent shrieks at the waste of your years
And the waste of your youth.
I know your depair.
Your stiff upper lip cannot keep your head above the waves,
And what lies beneath seems so black and so inviting,
That to yourself, you wonder...
What's so good about the opposite shore
That you must continually strive to reach it, anyway?
I know how harsh and empty words are upon the ears,
When they come from lips that have never spoken from a mouth dry with nameless worry.
I know how long your road ahead seems when you cannot see
How far you have already come.
I know you. I have been you.
It's such a little thing, to change the colour of a heart.
The click of a mouse, the tap of a phone...
This button instead of that.
Purple hearts, all.
Purple hearts for the battle-scarred.
© mjc 21 September 2019