Unspoken Altar

I’ve pulled from your memory before.

The underside of age weeping into a word pile,
and your image coined in repetition of a phrase I cannot remove
from my psyche.

Today is not a day for the belly of death,

I recall instead your birthday. One unfamiliar
to my word paintings, as this month is wont to do.

The overshadow of Christmas creating more obligation in these days
than it ever would in any other month.

I want to apologize to you for that.

The fault of family often lending itself to louder
the lack of “look at me” in your demeanor
has gone unnoticed by me too long.

The rustling of the plastic sack
where you often held the bounty of your trips
where my greedy child fingers grasped

and a singsong thank you volleyed half at your face

before I ran off, your smile reaching the small of my back
instead of my eyes.

I want to apologize to you for that.

Tomorrow will be the day before another obligatory holiday
but I am now smiling in secret with you
at the younger me we both knew.

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Talk at me while I eat

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