Home » Poetry » A Very Mean Spirit (I Let Breathe)

A Very Mean Spirit (I Let Breathe)

There’s a very mean spirit

buried just beneath the surface,

clawing to be let out, aching to be set free.

He shares my name.

He wears my face.

His voice is mine but far more hoarse.

He comes out on occasion

though only uninvited,

like storm clouds on a sunny day.

There’s a very mean spirit

whom I know better than myself,

who’s skin crawls too

with memories made of me.

His laughter’s contagious.

His effort’s sincere.

The longer walks I take alone,

the easier it is to hear.

And I hate that cackling laughter.

The one I make when I forget.

It’s the one that helps me tell the difference

between his presence and my own.

It’s the reason why I’m jumpy.

And the reason why sudden noises bother me.

His ghost hangs like a bloody cross

dripping on my head

who taunts me when I’m happy,

tickling at my skin,

with all the things I never said.

There’s a very mean spirit

who lies to me, who is me.

We created one another

and his burden is my own.

I don’t dare set him free.

I know better than that now.

And I’ve learned just how to listen.

His cry is golden as the sun

that dips beneath the lakeside

and warms my evening eyes

with rain as sweet as summer.

His cry is mine and mine is his,

but I don’t bury him anymore—

in fact, I let him breathe.

I let him breathe and breathe regardless.

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