My Winter Years

These are my winter years –
when regret and recrimination ravage the soul.
Half-remembered memories rattle like marbles
in my brainpan and conspire against my forward vision.
My voice is but an opium whisper, and offers no defense
in the foul darkness of my affliction.

The souls of my feet rest upon a cushion of prayers that
never took flight, for my appeals were falsely laid;
and in this moment, I am content to lie upon my prickly bed,
dankly scented with the sweat of whores and cheap whiskey.
I offer no apology, and upon God’s ear none would surely fall,
for upon my cross He has forsaken me to my earthly merriment.

The familiar smell of petrichor wafts through my open window,
and for a moment the abyss before me appears clean washed and inviting,
stretched beneath a crescent moon like the hangman’s noose.
My dreams are shards of colored glass laced with the blood of my inequities,
The cold hours of this night unwind slowly, but unwind they do
while my eyes yearn to see Death’s gnarled fingers
reach out for me in the gray fog of morning.

These are my winter years –
when the mirror of my existence reflects the harshest light
and my bones rattle in contempt.
Free will was never intended for men like me
whose eyes grow dim with temptation’s agony.
If He had plans for me, He kept them to Himself,
and so I have chartered my own course beneath starless skies.

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