This Is All I Know—

legs dangling from simple chair
edges; untied shoelaces tracing
patterns in the hardwood floor,
the one thing left unfinished
to make weekend visits
that never came seem unreal. Yes,
I must have told myself,
he does love me.

This is all I know—
eyes, glassy and red,
can never see things as they truly are,
only putting people and events together
just the way eyes need,
remembering in ways that make eyes
innocent. No,
you must have told yourself,
I could never have done that.

This is all I know—
shave with cold water
and against the grain. How
could I ever believe
the red spots and cuts
were someone else’s doing? Yes,
I must have told myself,
this is the right way
to go about removing
yesterday’s growth.

All I know
are perfectly placed
affectations,
guardrails for a broken soul,
pain,
loss,
and baseless feelings
of fear and shame.

I am
all I know,
and I am learning daily.

By Kiel Gregory