On the worst nights you come back to me
On the worst nights
You show up at my doorstep
Like a speechless ghost.
You enter without my permission,
And then you find me and scare me
Because I had thought I finally buried you.
There’s a hollow look in your eyes,
Like there’s always been.
You look straight past me
And fill in the pieces
Of who you think I should be,
Who you think I am,
And that’s when you start to beg.
I want to get away from you
But you block my path
With your body and your words.
You demand your forgiveness,
Demand it from me as if it’s something
I’ve stolen from you,
And, when I explain, once again,
That I’d already forgiven you,
You burst into tears—
Not because of what I said
But because you think I can’t hear you.
My own personal ghost,
Trapped in the depths of my mind
No matter how hard I’ve tried
To purge myself of you.
Your haunting does not scare me,
Only concern me,
Because I thought I had forgiven you,
So why does your demon
Writhe in my soul?

The hardest thing I ever did
Was walk away from you
While you were in pain.
You thought I was God
And you were broken,
And, frankly, maybe you were
But it has never been my job
To absolve a man.
Nailah Smith
Published in Issue 40