Dog years

I wonder what the hell is going to make this better.
There’s dog years,
dog years of barking at the gates
of the hearts of those I loved
Sitting on my chest.

Perhaps that’s what my great-aunt meant
When she cried out at night
And said the devil himself was there,
Sitting on her stomach.

They say I’m strong,
Some say I am hard,
But I’m not.
I’m brittle.
I’m brittle like a candy cane
sucked thin
and left in the freezer,
forgotten in the cold,
Its colours violent against the ice that crowds it.
Its silence loud,
But never loud enough for it to be heard
As the freezer door is wrenched
Open
And slammed shut.

I wonder what the hell is going to make this better.
I wonder if the day will ever arrive
When I can look at biceps
Twice the size as mine
And not wonder
When they’ll be positinoned around my throat.
When that deep voice
Will disembowel me.
When that heart will turn away.

The words in any language ring the same,
For anyone that has heard ‘I love you’ in a thousand tones
Knows it is never the words
That produce the love.
And I cling for evidence,
Like maddened Sherlock at his wit’s end,
Waiting
To finish the game I play with myself,
Utterly convinced until it’s over
That they were playing me.

Checkmate. And nobody wins.
Because when the game is done
So all are the others –
All the playfulness,
All the laughter,
And all the love I refused
To let into my chest
Because of the dog years,
The dog years of torture,
Cutting their approach with the barbed wire
Of conviction.

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