A Woman I Never Knew

I look upon your face,
this photograph is old.
I am unsure if I ever knew you,
I know with a conviction
I did,
the crevices that formed as
extensions of the
curvature of your lips, and the
train tracks leading to
tear ducts,
a two-way route.

If I look closely,
I see the reflection of the
camera bulb upon your
pupils.
A bright light inevitably fading.
I presume you might find
this fitting, comical even,
for were you not fading?
Are we all not fading?
you counter

Your life slips away
on the grease of unwashed
hair.
Cleanliness is irrelevant
in the dance with life’s
impermanence.
Clothes disheveled,
your sweatshirt sleeves
fray where the musings
of madness collide with
reality.
The threads bewail their plight.
You snap back,
     That shit cannot be sewn back
     together.
You know. I know.

I try to wipe from my fingers
the smudges of your ashes.
I did not know you,
but I cannot be rid of you.
May the fires of crematory peace
consume your final
memory.

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