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Michael Emmanuel: for a stranger whose scent we know

for a stranger whose scent we know

the requiem names you a woman
slipping into sunlight – says your
radiance was unmatched        says you
were petals in full bloom brightening
the gardener’s dreams until the thunderstorm
struck the threads of your costume – your
petals withered & the dreams upturned into
a nightmare sucking in the gardener’s

face & fingers & lips & eyes & eyes so black
& eyes once full of light & eyes shifting into
a menu of questions:
why did you              leave so soon
why did              you leave so soon
why did you leave              so soon
why              did you leave so soon

& left us with a heartful of petals
& no sunlight in sight


for the forty-ninth day remembrance

do not outline the similarities
between your wrinkles & your father’s

do not bury a bottle of beer
between your lips – it ends in hangovers

do not ring up your (ex)lover
or ask her to stay one more hour

do not dig up memories with the
boy who shares your father’s surname

do not on your way home stop
at your (ex)lover’s – it ends in brawls

do not man up when her fiancé
accosts you at the door to her apartment

do not murmur your (ex)lover’s name
like a litany

& when your step-brother demands your
location do not tell him to get lost – a lost
man cannot direct another lost man.
Poems © Michael Emmanuel
Image by Keith Bov from Pixabay (modified)

Michael Emmanuel
Michael Emmanuel
Michael Emmanuel is an Associate Editor at Praxis Mag Online. His works have appeared in Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Praxis Mag, Kreative Diadem, and elsewhere.

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