Dave Hughes: Lying Eyes

The tremor in my hands,

matches the tremble in my stomach.

I don’t like to answer those questions,

the  ones that pry,

the honest ones,

“Please! Just tell me the truth…”

but finally no one is asking,

finally no one is listening.

You can cross to the sunny side of the street,

but payment is still due.

For the dark years.

Entire decades lovingly bathed,

in whiskey and amnesia.

I grip the edge the table,

as the first whiskey of the day ,

opens the lockbox inside,

and my emotions and regrets come braying forth,

but flipping tables is a young man’s game,

and their daily drowning will start soon enough.

Occasional recollections do surface,

like old shrapnel popping from my skin.

Girls crying,

        in cars,

            in bars,

                on the stairs

I’m going to try to defend it,

How do you defend a life,

mostly unremembered.

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