a shadowy place none come anymore-

on a frail and forgotten face

teardrops fall from eyes of lakes

beginning their long quest down-

a hand reaches out to catch them as they fall.

yours?

how can it be?

i thought you gone.

the last time you flashed your smile-

the last time your eyes met mine-

the last time your laughter reverberated in my head-

the last time.

now the laughter is cut short.

a rose placed on your head

and a fistful of dirt thrown with grace

as a ball from a father to a son in a game of catch

on your grave.

i watched you buried-lost at sea;

a sailor who cannot find home.

and yet your hand catches my tears

your eyes gaze into mine, piercing through me as a spear

full of sorrow, regret, fear-what you've done and where you'll end up.

it was a purposeful mistake,

and one that cannot be undone.

your fingers tinged with grey-

traces of gunpowder, perhaps? your means-

you wipe away the oceans spilling out of my eyes

leaving a trail of ash.

your fear brings you back to me;

not forever, but to find certainty.

i cannot forgive you for leaving,

but i can kiss you goodbye.

goodbye, goodbye, my darling;

good luck, and everything will be alright

-both of us knowing the lie and tasting its apple bitterness-

a wind blows, and you're gone,

with a gust of smoke hinting at your path left behind.

it plays beneath the shadows-

for no one comes here anymore.

and so i stand-

at your grave, head up, shoulders back, stand up straight now you need to be strong bite your lip now don't let it quiver now smile you need to let go of the past don't hold on to what can't come back let it go and move on.

but rivers stream down regardless-

i allow them to run through the ash, marking me striped and certain-

though the smile is real.

let it go? i suppose.

but always remember.

can't come back?

i don't think so.

for the smile originates in the smoke.