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Contributor: John Tustin

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Why have you disappeared from my heart?
I ache like a lion staring from the iron bars
of a solitude that only a prisoner can fathom.

The shakiness, the weariness comes again
on the tremulous wings of excess thought.
I am truly alone tonight.
Words do not comfort me,
fantasies beckon
but are pushed aside.
It’s you, it’s you
that I need, that I lust,
that haunts me and grips my powdering bones.
And it’s you that chains me.

I am held captive by you
and you are not even present
in this room or my conversations
with raspy loveless walls.
I am a prisoner of that unknown thing
that draws us together
and the known things that hold us fast
and apart.

A prisoner that begs not
for food, for water, for comfort,
or even for dignity.
I am hungry only for freedom
and for you,
insatiable for you, madly
insatiable for you –
your mouth, your body,
the words I imagine coming from them.

And now you hold back,
you hold it in –
or maybe you don’t feel it anymore.
That feeling for me that I know
must be a mistake, a crossed wire,
a crooked beam in your mind
that would make you think
I deserve your heart.

I love you like I did,
like I do, like I always will
and that love is a tether
around my arms and my waist
and it holds me still
and keeps me from going
forward or backward -
and the lacking of your words,
the void of your apparition,
they are the wire
that pins back the wings
of this jailbird.

Speak and the wire will break
and my wings will open
and I’m sure they’re quite beautiful
when open

although I’ve never
seen it.

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