The Ghosts We Inherit • V.C. McCabe

The invisible felt   in tick tock pocket watch time,
hand wound in memory  of more innocent years.
When the word 'family'  meant whole, meant safe—
or did it?   Nostalgia is an unreliable narrator.

Rewind the tape,  let's play it again
to see what never happened.  The lies 
we tell ourselves to sleep at night.   To look
ourselves in the mirror,  in the eyes  

betraying truth   we're so desperate to hide.
Smell once more the hearth fire smoke,   taste
the fresh baked homemade fears   made quaint.
Photos reveal reality  as we choose to portray it.

You rebel, you miscreant, how dare you   breathe
a word unapproved by committee.   The open wound,
your mouth, a bloodletting  of secrets, a sin
that heaves hell   upon your own shoulders.

Uprooting what was planted  before your birth.
Setting a wildfire back through history,   a kindling
of your family tree, branches   turned to ash
by the match you lit, gnarled roots   no one wants

to see, buried so deep  not even hell can touch,
what lies beneath will devour us.   Better to
self-inflict revelation  than perpetuate heritage. Who 
we are is what we do,not the blood in our veins.

by V.C. McCabe, from Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot