Before, by E. F. Schraeder
That mark between here and gone
inserts itself like sharp needle of punctuation,
stronger than a pause, like so many meteors.
What is the last thing you remember?
It undoes you like an erasure, smooth and clean,
blowing apart into fine silt, chalk dust.
Then that piercing instant smirks,
a foe clenching in the chest,
heaving with long shot lost hopes.
Memories like ghosts shimmer,
beckon to brighter times,
maybe the last time I smiled.
Subtract the minutes to now.
Life wheedled a fine calculus of pain
into the lines of a wrinkled brow.
The soul becomes a sore point,
a wilting nothing,
like more unavoidable bad news.
Author of a poetry chapbook, Schraeder holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D., teaches and works at a library part time. Schraeder’s work has appeared in Dark Moon Digest, Allegro, Four Chambers, Glitterwolf, Slink Chunk Press, Hoax, the HWA Poetry Showcase, vol. III, and other journals and anthologies. Find more online at www.efschraeder.com