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By Robert Russell


No closer to closure than I was six years ago.

With one eye closed, I can still see your face, peering back at me in that pale light with eyes dripping with regret.

The shadows dance on the walls, and switching eyes, I see the future we should have had. I see the love that followed and the blossoming flowers all around.

But is it real? – is anything real? – and what’s the point?

Back to my senses, I ponder what to do for dinner. Back to my distractions, as always. Fuck, where has the day gone?

I’m happy with myself, of course. I’m not afraid of dying alone, of course. My family is okay, of course. My brother didn’t try to kill me, of course.

My dirty, poetic reflection professes a litany devoid of meaning or truth. The demons in my head echo each word.

Distraction. Throw on some Alanis, and don’t let the world know.

I still wish I had done more. I’m sorry I didn’t do more. I’m sorry I didn’t communicate better. I’m sorry I didn’t fight for you. I’m sorry I wasn’t more.

I love you and you’re not even real, really, nor were you ever real. My internal defense against the plaguing memories of you that I can’t seem to extinguish.

I love you, but I hate you, yet I thank you. Better to have lost, but still loved, right?

Congrats on getting married by the way. I’m happy for you.

“For you”

Truth is, I am discontent. I am afraid of dying alone. My good music and kind eyes won’t help me in the long run.

And I wish I could tell you that you are the single source of my sorrow, my dysphoria, my anxiety, my ennui, my torture, my thoughts, and my hatred. That from you spawn my demons.

I wish I could say that everything that happened after you was your fault. That every intersubjective ballet of lust that followed never paled in comparison. That every subsequent affair never satiated the buried thirst inside me that only you quenched. That in every new experience, every deeper dive into the waters of hedonistic exploration, I have still only ever surfaced disappointed. 

Nothing’s right.

There is no meaning, except that love is the universal clash of despair and hope, sides of a blank, singular page.

A simple interface rendered feeble and listless when tested with divinity or a true understanding of the human condition.

But funnily,

I still see your smile, except now it belongs to someone else.

I still hear your voice, except now it leaves someone else’s mouth.

Your flaxen hair is now a shade of black.

After all, there is no point, no meaning to any of this.

No closer to closure than I was six years ago.

But that’s okay now. 

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