VOICES

by Luke Otley

I find myself leaning into the earth
after twenty four years
staring into a sheet of glass
thick with mist,
convinced that the brooding figure
there, deep in fathoms of reflection,
is somebody else.
I once heard a voice
inside my head,
blighted, desperate, he wanted cash
for an easy fix,
a hit
of something sweet
to ease the ache
of the molars in his maw.
My friends told me
in the closest confidence,
and in embarrassed whispers,
that they smelled death
on my ragged breath,
and each kind word that I choked to life
arrived already
with jagged edges.

I find it harder to recall
as the days draw on,
and each month blurs to past,
who I am
and what is expected from me,
and in my hesitation
those I know become decided,
sullenly and silently comparing
the present
to the past,
and with a swift
and merciless
motion of the hand,

I am dismissed.