Thurman P. Woodfork

THE PENITENT
(Survivor’s Guilt)

“The Penitent” by Morteza Katouzian
“The Penitent” by Morteza Katouzian
Dreaming, grim memories
wrapped ‘round him like a cloak,
hollow-eyed wraiths
swirl about like spectral smoke,
mind drifting through the rubble
of anguished recollections,
masticating those doleful days
like chewing sweet confections.
He gently strokes the aching
as though caressing a sweet lover,
yet searching, probing, scanning,
always seeking to discover
some relief from the haunting –
a cure for the living pain –
perhaps at least the coda
to this damned, recurring refrain
that plays forever and ever
on the soundtrack in his brain…
a funeral march, an alluring dirge,
a melodious elegy.
Synced to the mournful rhythms
of his personal threnody,
he molds a mental stiletto
forged of sharpened, unearned guilt
and thrusts it, with a prayer,
into his vitals to its hilt.
Then, rising like the Phoenix
ascending from the flames,
he takes a seat and wearily
begins his penance once again.