No matter
how dark
and close
to black
a person
in life
their body
in death
in the ground
the grasses
above them
and the
nearby trees
who tangle
their roots
around them
so they
are hugged.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

I Write This At Our Old Table

Your appearance
in ghostly form
explains your disappearance
to a small degree.

I preferred it
when you lived and breathed
but accept seeing you
at your old haunts.

In some of those places
your voice hides in corners
and I hear them
as a whisper even when in song.

You ask about your life.
I am reluctant to explain it
since I believe
you should be letting go

for release into the next world
and what it holds
but it could be you have amends
to make after death’s epiphanies.

Not amends but forgiveness.
Not them forgiving you.
But you forgiving them
in their presence and to their faces.

This is so bitterness and pain
fail to lock you to these familiar places
even though I remember them
as places of laughter.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

In Explanation

Trust does not give a damn about me.
I misread the fine print.

Forgiveness is a joke told at my expense
and charged to my line of credit—I only have cold cash.

Understand men tick and tock.
Swing and miss.

Guilt is the boulder Sisyphus repeatedly
pushed up hill and watched roll back down.

Blame is a finger pointing every which way
before turning to my chesty north.

In explanation, I tell you
I begged for my life to become a story

worthy of the Greeks
so astute readers learn from my outrageous decisions.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Private School

All the childhood years went by
without my child.

I cannot say that those years were stolen.
Death does not steal children like sex traffickers steal children.

This is what it took
to learn what my parents went through

when my brother, at thirteen, died from cancer.
Eventually, I forgave them for what came next.

And a hole in the heart filled with understanding. Forgiveness.
A tuition fee I never have to pay again.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney