Chronicles of Life

Written by: Bernadette Langer

I grew up in rows of houses ending in graveyards,
where six feet of dirt covered
the mound of my existence
and failure arched every single doorway.

Depression draped the windows
with patterns stitched
by poverty’s unapologetic hand.

The futility of language lacing its voice
with abject grief and guilt;

Expression left to moan its desperation,
yet unable to communicate its plea.

While eyes lost the blue of horizons and hope--
blindness welcomed

as agony’s twisted comic relief.

Emptiness has a way of filling up
and spilling over, consuming;

Until all that remains is a chronicle of life
lived too painfully in reverse,

and the screaming sheathing of despair

mummifying the entombed...