Burying A Dead Man's Ghost


driving last night, we passed the Gadsden State College
campus and for a moment i was no longer in Alabama,
but somewhere else. but it was only for a moment and
while it hurt, it wasn't the sharp, take-my-breath-away
kind of pain it's been for so long.

it does ease, doesn't it? time does help with many
things. time and distance and other things to occupy
one's mind. i remember being lost inside that pain,
hurting with an intensity that was unlike anything i've
ever experienced. i didn't think i was ever going to
find my way out of that dark and nasty place. the
lies and half-truths, the denial, the bitterness and
the scorn. the pretense. past tense. over, done.

so now i find myself farther along in the healing process
and i keep wondering when i'll be able to forgive. i
wonder if i'll *ever* be able to forgive. will i be able
to smile benignly someday at a memory that used to
rip and tear me to pieces? maybe. maybe one day
when i'm an old woman with years and years behind
me, sitting on my front porch and paging through the
scrapbook of memories i've made.

i mean, i've gotten this far, i'm sure i'll be able to complete
the journey and find total peace with the past. doesn't
that sound lovely? total peace with the past. someday
when i realize that it wasn't yesterday that was important,
but today and tomorrow. not what happened, but what
i make happen in the future.

and in the graveyard of bad memories i'm going to plant
beautiful flowers. yellow roses and periwinkle, impatiens
to usher in spring, asters and mums to greet autumn. that
way when i look back i'll see the beauty that i made out of
the pain. like the poems i wrote, the songs i sang. beauty
out of the ugliness. it can be done. i'm sure of it. hell,
i'm living proof.

tonight i sang "you can sleep while i drive" with my eyes
closed and remembered sitting outside work with fireflies
lighting the night as i softly sang that song to them. it
means something different to me now.

now it means hope.


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