Gehenna

A word whispered by winter’s ghost
in last night’s dream of loss.

Gehenna

So foreign to this man,
it held a portent.

This evening,
as he sweeps winter’s leavings from his tilted deck,
Gehenna echos back to him in a latent sigh.

He and his Margie. Gone these two years.
The deep ravine behind their home.
Its choked and bubbling stream.
The shopping carts, beer bottles, stinking refuse, dirty mattresses.

Once, there were many cherries there.
Flashing, one night.
Yellow tape.
Hushed bystanders.
Part of a person had been found.
He and Margie had stayed in their own yard.

On a night in the spring of ’17, Margie didn’t come home from work.
Margie didn’t call.
Margie was never found.
Margie wasn’t heard from again.

The ghost of winter had a voice of chill.
Tonight, as it sighed the same syllables,
a thrill of knowing made him drop to his knees in the twilight.

Margie.

Gehenna.

***

Art work by Theophile Steinlen – Chat au Claire de Lune  (from Pinterest)

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