How the Years Pass Until It’s You

how long has it been & who died then
time reveals her parlor tricks in our lengthening faces
ill-fitted suit try to pass for an expired version of yourself
shake hands with people who have drifted to strangers

time reveals her parlor tricks in our lengthening faces
details decayed enough that we don’t share the same memories
shake hands with people who have drifted to strangers
begin with a prayer the deceased would have hated

details decayed enough that we don’t share the same memories
too many ghosts to count not all of them dead yet
close with another prayer the deceased would have hated
the habitual departure yes let’s stay in better touch

too many ghosts to count not all of them dead yet
ill-fitted suit try to pass for an expired version of yourself
unspoken but understood we won’t stay in touch
how long has it been & who died then


Joseph Kerschbaum’s most recent publications include Mirror Box (Main St Rag Press, 2020) and Distant Shore of a Split Second (Louisiana Literature Press, 2018). Joseph has been awarded grants from the NEA and the Indiana Arts Commission. His work has appeared in journals such as Failbetter, Panoply, Umbrella Factory, The Battered Suitcase, and The Delinquent. Joseph lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his family.

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