Haunt Me Gently by Nicholas Yandell

(To SH, JR, KB, and anyone else I’m forgetting to thank for continuing to haunt me)

Haunt me gently, as your lifetimes reappear. On my windshield reflection, in sudden trepidation. Thought long gone away, in a shifting mind’s state. I won’t ask you to leave, and I probably never will, despite how uncomfortable thoughts of you make me feel.

Make yourselves known, and I’ll start the same way. Apologize for refusing to acknowledge you. Guilty and clouded with substance, unable to dwell on your absence. Because though you are gone, you still exist so vividly. Appearing in wake and sleep. I struggle with such ambiguity, retreating far too easily.

So, haunt me steadily, as the waning blood red pyre sinks into a pool of sky. Mimicking hues in weary eyes, from too many intrusive thoughts. Making me question why I’m still driving this desolate highway all alone. Bearing the friction of restless souls, irritating my fragile state. Barely holding 10 and 2, just to keep this body safe.

But despite the perils, I’ll take the risk. I know why I’m out here once again. This time finally with intention. Cruising the meditative asphalt, with wide-eyed aspirations of finding peace, out here in this vast release.

Yes, haunt me swiftly, while I have no escape. No way to ignore the flickers of pain. Sharp twinges of desert mirages. Heavenly wraiths in the light of the moon. Incomplete portraits, whose admirable attributes, are all that shimmers through. I’m just not ready to accept this version of you.

I’d happily take a blemished vessel, dripping sadness, fear and anger. An authentic moment of any kind, if tacked onto your time, no matter how undesirable it seems. But I know this request is just something of my dreams.

So then, haunt me fiercely; that’s what I’ll ask of you. Though I know I’m not entitled to anything from your recollection. I’m not even close to the one, whom in your exit lost the most. But I can’t help feeling the pounding lack. The what ifs and the unknowns. The indelible mark, that too quickly became a scar, tossing me unceremoniously out of naivety.

As my car windows open irrationally, and I’m blown by a smoky breeze, I’ll hold tight your apparitions. Finding enigmatic comfort in their diversion. More time to unwind the complexity of living and the fragility of proceeding.

Now, haunt me forcefully, in these shadows of mountains on sprawling dry country. You ghosts who’ve never left me, who speak persuasively of your mysteries, passionately in time with a steady beat. To whom I’ll finally reveal unburdened honesty, while reliving fictional scenarios with many different endings.

And haunt me clearly, even as you’re fading. Leaving me a tumbleweed of loneliness turbulently blowing. Straddling the edge of the great planes of mortality. Where I’ll say my goodbyes to you, my best of spirit friends in my passenger seats. Having our last tearful conversations, before you’ll inevitably disappear. And I’ll finally stop moving and this sacred pilgrimage of consolation, will blur into the trickling warmth of memory.

So please, just haunt me gently, through these last rumbles. The passing aggressions of nature’s expression, amplified in my digressions. Where I’m so thankful for your persistence. The chance to ponder your resting souls, with these extra ticks of existence. An epilogue for tender growth, to examine all our lives exposed, while out here navigating so many unknowns, all along the dusty road on my survivor’s journey.

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