that evening i felt the weight
of a past not of my own making,
out of darkness into darkness.
it was a night to determine boundaries –
what belonged to whom, & who
makes that decision.
i will never do that again.
i learned that much.
i gathered every graven image,
drawings & paintings, every golden idol –
every thing pulled out of storage
into the light, unveiled, released.
three bins full, & still you wanted more.
the bonfire at Hawrelak Park –
1000 books set afire –
it took hours for them to burn.
they smouldered in the dawn like bricks,
wilted pages and charred spines.
i regret that less.
those books could be replaced
(though most weren’t) still too many
books get burned, too many
books are published. so many
words to nail to the page, so many
stories that need unravelling. their grip
too tight. they take up so much space.
the art, the poetry, the books – the proof
of the journey, the shadows
of my youth
forgotten. misremembered. half-
remembered. how do I recover that?
i should have been stronger.
i should have said no. i should have
tested the strength of my voice –
what was true. i should have
remembered my name,
how it calls out a promise.
the loss of all these things
won’t define me. regret tries
to fill the spaces – sketches the past,
and though sometimes accurate,
it is a thin reminder.
perhaps one day i will forgive you
perhaps i will even forget
this is not that day.