I go home tomorrow.
It would be best to forget
. this city and all I have seen:
twin headed snakes, ghosts of mules,
shimmering with insomnia asking
“Are we there yet?”
Without him, there’s nothing left for me and
I am almost done with this diary now—
I suppose a diary is all that it will ever be.
When I get out of here it might be time to start thinking about a new sort of life.
Perhaps I’ve learned enough to begin one although I am not sure what
it is I have learned.
What have I learned? What have I learned
in this school of the dead?
And where to begin?
Let me begin
not at the beginning, not even at the awake. But rather at the I will never again
possess that belief of children that
nothing terrible will ever happen to me.
I will never again feel under my skin that endless aquifer of birds delighted and oblivious—
I’m never going to risk
lifting the veil I keep
. between myself and the world.
From now on it can only be:
“What have I done?”
“What myths will the land write for itself—”
like every living creature that ventures
so far from home—
If there is anything I can leave you with it’s that there is water down here,
running under us,
that children wade into and emerge from
not as children.
If the Dead Were in the Room I Would Say
Jill Mceldowney is the author of the chapbook Airs Above Ground (Finishing Line Press) as well as Kisses Over Babylon (dancing girl press). She is a co founder and editor for Madhouse Press. She is also a recent National Poetry Series Finalist. Her previously published work can be found in journals such as Muzzle, Fugue, Prairie Schooner, Vinyl, and other notable publications.