Hatchet - a poem about secrets, shame, and forgiveness

Hatchet - a poem about secrets, shame, and forgiveness

 

Hatchet

I never bring you up in conversation
because too many know the truth
and then there are those that still don't.

Those that know would nod and smile
while marveling at how damaged I must be
to forgive the deranged villain of innocence
and choose to cherish past happiness instead.
They would replay memories that belong to me—
videotapes of pain that no one else should see.

Those that I'm sworn to leave in the dark
would praise you without apologetic remark
while I awkwardly hush the parts of my brain
that haven't forgiven and cannot forget.

Those two crowds are enough.
Never mind mixed company.

Your crime does not go unpunished—
I pay and I pay for all that you skipped out on.
The shame somehow rests within me
but only because you refused to wear it.
You could have tried to make amends
but instead it was me who extended pardon
as you left this plane for the kind of place
where all is absolved and maybe erased.

But don't forget there's a hatchet to be buried,
and the only place you'll find dirt is on Earth.
We landscape six feet in place of serenity.
We tend to the trauma while you fly free.

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