The Writing on His Walls

What were you thinking
when you did it, when you inhaled
and embraced death?
Were you thinking of me?
That it was better this way?
Or were you thinking of your children?
No sign of them here.
How should I feel about that,
knowing the youngest one is mine…
But there I was.
My painted eyes
bearing down, razor sharp, from the wall.
My likeness
floating from your hand—
the only picture you had, unknown to me
until they drilled the locks
to find you—
and me,
staring up from the paper,
blindly watching your words shift
around the walls,
forever unable to change them.


More about this poem
Here the persona is unable to comprehend the actions of the deceased – this poem is the bewilderment and the ‘why?’ of grief. The speaker is unclear in her own mind what is more important here and is confused by the prevalence of her own image: not only the picture he was holding, but the writing and pictures painted directly on the walls themselves. The title refers to those words and pictures but also alludes to the inevitability of what has happened.
© Ammie-oy 2010


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