The Stars I Saw

The Stars I Saw
Alex Ziperovich

I haven’t looked into the sky for ten years; my darkened eyes glazed down heaving on all ashtrays everywhere I look. But then I did see the stars, in Canada. I looked into the sky and the little torches were glowing and I imagined all the fire and brimstone of those suns. I looked away.

Yes, my head wavering toward the ashtray for ten years, my eyes spilled into the burns. I looked again a moment ago, having a cigarette, and the stars were more distant, harder to get into my heart but all the more beautiful.

I haven’t smiled for ten years.
I haven’t laughed for ten years.
I haven’t cried for ten years.

The ghost has been given, taken, ripped out of me like the blade of a serrated knife. Scar tissue covers my soul and I imagine it will always be that way for me.

But I saw the stars and I smiled and I laughed and I have not cried, not yet, not really and my being suffers for it.

I don’t won’t make empty promises but the elixir that I’ve been poisoning myself with for ten years is gone.
And now I see the stars again.

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