How Do You Forgive A Ghost? (Poem)

How do you forgive a ghost, a monster, a memory?
They have no name – just the devastation they left in their path–
Like an oozy-sticky-gooey sucking trail of toxic waste
It still runs down the mountain like volcanic lava
Burning generations left in its wake…
How do you stop it?

One of my childhood monsters reappeared in a dream
when my children were young.
He said, “You can’t protect them from me.”
I was afraid, but I thought surely it was a lie –
The monster I knew was gone –
Fled the country.
Surely those I loved were out of his reach.

But monsters can reach through time,
Slipping under the radar like stealth bombers
Sneaking in to drop their payload
in the depth of a starless night.
I cannot control other people’s actions.
I can only seek recovery and lay down the fear.

How do I forgive a monster?
(Or am I the monster I need to forgive?)
Each generation seeks an answer.
For those who follow us
We’ve got to make this end.

April 27, 2020

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