Sometimes memories linger where they're unwelcome.
Like tiny winged beasts with barbed talons hooking into the tender tissue of the subconscious,
dragging us backward, arms and legs flailing, with no warning.
We recall the temperature of the air that night
and the smell of the car
and the sound of the rain,
all without trying.
Years fly forward and sometimes these beasts grow weaker,
but talons sink deeper as the festering flesh grows around them
as a tree trunk envelopes a frayed tire swing rope.
Even now, as life looks changed,
I remember the taste of that moment
and the smoothness of your hands
and the suppressed anger in your voice after you had driven through the rain looking for me that night.
Sometimes we probe, our mind fingering its way through the soft sinew,
looking for a trace of talon or a broken barb that has left scars with its vice-like grip.
Our minds observe it with curiosity,
grimacing as it discovers old twinges of pain,
wondering at the intensity of the feelings that remain embedded.
Eventually the beasts die, their decrepit detritus littered across our subconscious
like a wasteland of ghosted memories.
Tissue enshrouds what remains,
layers upon layers of the way your face looks
and the sound of screaming brakes
and breaking hearts embraced by the warmth of my tears on your red shirt
and the glow of the streetlight on your eyelashes

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