Traces Of Us

Erased so easily

No words were needed
I knew instinctively that day
that day that you looked away too soon
that brief fragment of time
barely a second
it felt it like a lightning strike out of the darkest night
in the absence of the storm its sting more mighty
the sharp edge of reality shaking me to my core
all in that moment
less than a breath
less than a blink
the tides in your eyes ebbing away 
as the ocean between us grew greater with each passing day

Those tides were slowly pulling us apart
the sea rolled in wave after wave across the sand
retreating again and again 
and with each return 
and each retreat
it took away another part of us
dragging us out into deep waters
releasing us gently into the depths
where we glided from side to side 
like leaves falling from a tree 
unaware that the depths into which we fell 
would be too far
too deep 
breaking apart with just a whisper
one piece
one leaf 
at a time
in a quiet hush
no rush
no fear
just silent surrender
as the hands of time gently caressed our broken parts 
and laid them to rest in a place of peace 
and the sea gently sang them to sleep

Yet once again I find myself sifting through the ashes of us
feeling the silken powder caress my fingers as it slips away again
but not before I have breathed it in 
and reignited the flames deep inside of me
the flames that lead to nothing but pain
the flames that burned our love to the ground 
and left me standing alone in the charred remains

Stroke by stroke you once painted the oceans of my heart
and filled the rivers of my soul
carving the secrets of love into my very flesh
the memory of your touch still shakes me like thunder
and waves of feelings come crashing in
drenching me in vivid recollections
your whispers long forgotten yet somehow lingering

Is this the price of loving you? 
a life lived in rewind 
with my ash soiled hands constantly reaching 
for the flowers that ceased blooming long ago
unable to forget the scent of the rose or the wounds of the thorns 
and my fingers 
like my sorrowful heart 
constantly bleeding 
dripping into rivers now carved out by my pain 
mingling with tears that are falling like rain 
swirling around over sharpened stones 
as I try to catch every scrap 
afraid to lose even a fragment of you

My body has become a vessel of pain 
despite my despair my empty hands and my broken heart 
still seek your soul in the depths of darkness
and in the stars that sprinkle the night with the light of hope 
and in the turning of the seasons where things fade and die 
only to be reborn anew in time

But in the end I always return to the lightless places of my soul 
where traces of you remain secreted away 
in the darkest corners where only I can go 
places where traces of you drift
like the fragrance of spring blossoms and the salt of the sea
where there is no line between life and death 
and ashes are yet to be ashes 
and where no wreaths drift on sorrowful oceans 
and the past
for just a moment 
holds me in its arms 
and I can breathe
for what seems an eternity

Hearts drawn upon the sand with gathered twigs
initials entwined 
for a brief window of time
the shells and flowers lovingly placed 
now captured by the sea
traces of us can no longer be found
erased so easily

© Ann Bagnall

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