This is for the inhabitants of unmapped prisons
for exiles of a country that never existed
for the bled
for the beggared
for thin ankles that totter in stilettos
for those that flicker in this world
never fully lit, always only almost
and especially for those who tried to know and love them.
Know that nothing is lost forever,
our human web
an acrobat’s safety net
folds in on itself
revealing the disappeared, the dead, the awkward and the forgotten
who come to us as overwhelmingly skittish memories
bringing with them their phantom pain.
Know that in the floodplains of the heart
it is up to us
to tease away conditions that were set.
Erase accommodations made by time
as their ghosts surprise us,
the way the taste of salt on the lips
lingers hours after an ocean swim.