For K.M wherever you may be 

Use of your veiled power
Brings me here to this door
With the knowledge I must keep the touch of that power away from those
Who are loved.
Psalm 23 as I enter the valley,
The shadow you have always been
Since a night long ago.
Now midnight, on a summer’s night as it was once before,
I am stone
As I enter.

Though it has been thirty-three years since the night of such destruction
And twenty-six since face to face we have stood,
You are as you always were–
So beautiful yet still–
Elegant clothing of black silk replacing your leathers,
Shining long pure white hair rather than chestnut gloss wave and drape round your shoulders.
Though there are creases round,
Ice yet frozen sparkles still
In the blue topaz of your eyes.
Words tumble from you like the pebbles of a river bottom in the floods.
The veil of your power used
Only to get me here
You would never touch
All I hold dear.

Talk. Just talk is all.
Sit down, please. A drink?

I sit, accept.
Though I’ve consumed too much liquid courage
Just to be near,
To calm all the fear
Of what I thought I must surrender.
But not this.
I had not thought it would be this.
I sip something too effervescent,
Too sweet for this.
And wait.
Sip and wait.

You sigh, drop your head.
A curtain of snow, a veil, falls
Hiding blue topaz.
You begin once again the apology
For the night long ago,
So long ago,
When you lost control,
Your anger, your fears
Ending our three years,
Ending our youth,
Ending the selves
We can never recapture.

“No, don’t. It’s done. Over with. Forgiven. Forgotten.”

You reach for a file.
“No. Not so. You haven’t forgiven or forgotten.
I know.”
And there it is–
In print outs, photographs,
Transcripts and more,
My life in the folder.
“I have always known– everything,”
Your answer.

At the evidence of this—obsession,
“Why?” my only question.

“To help if needed,” you say.
You drain your glass,
Pour more and continue.
The words pour down and over,
Wearing away my stone,
And we are humans
Who were once young
And loved together.

The ice melts and
Rains a deluge from blue topaz.
Your shoulders curve inward,
Your breathing wracked by sobs.
And I know then
Flays your soul
Just as you once,
Losing control with anger and fear,
Flayed me.

I pull you to me
Lay you down
Your head resting in my lap.
I stroke your hair,
Dry your tears.
And I see all the years,
All the years of guilt written there.
The beautiful artist I loved once within,
Yes, still near.
While my life and soul healed, leaving just a little scarring,
Your soul is yet flayed open,
Raw and bleeding.

Perhaps an hour passed.
We talk of the present and the past.
It is then you ask for what I cannot give,
A future of us.
For even if I could, even if we could,
You would not find what you need,
What you seek,
In any reclaiming of our past
In the makings of a future.
Your soul would bleed still.

The last chips of ice melt
When you hear my answer.
And when it is finished,
When you are done,
You take my hand from your hair
And kiss each fingertip,
As if you thought to kiss the statue of a saint.

Then you rise with cat like grace
Try to give me the last painting you did
You say some sixteen years ago,
The last time you held a brush.
It is of me.
From memory
You say,
Speaking of our three years,
Of how often you watched me sleep.
I can barely recognize the body, the face.
But, yes. I guess it is what I was once.

I hand it back,
Saying it is me no longer.
I cannot accept a me I do not recognize.
You take it, gently. Put it aside,
Then touch my cheek.
Ask me to stay,
Just to sleep.

I cannot.
But I hold you for a moment
Before I turn to go.

You place a slip of paper into my hand
Tell me you will watch,
You will listen– no more.
That should I want in any way,
Should I need in any way,
I should write the secret words upon a page you would see
And you would be here.

I make the promise
You need to hear
And leave.

Though you once called me your Helen,
Money and power your Mephistopheles,
The time is long
past the hour of any damnation.
For wherever you may go,
Now you know.
Nothing can be recaptured.
Nothing reclaimed.
Nothing would you find there.

Because I once loved you,
Once held you so dear,
Within my forgiveness
Given long ago,
Within yourself,
Within your soul,

Published by

Annette Kalandros

I am a retired teacher, enjoying everything that retirement means. In addition, I have been active in the LGBTQ community since I was four years old and marched my Ken doll with all his little Ken accouterments to the big metal trash can in the yard. Yes, I dumped Ken, along with said accouterments, into the can and slammed the lid on. My two Barbie dolls lived happily ever after.

5 thoughts on “Absolution”

  1. Wow! Well written. I was thinking: it must take a lot of courage to both – saying no and forgiving. Not easy things to do. We tend to cling to the past, and it’s not easy to let go and leave it behind

    Liked by 1 person

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