Seelenreinigung / Cleansing the Soul: A Poem

When I lost you I suddenly understood

That I only found out who you were, then

And there, having turned my back on that room

Where your urn stood.


I looked back at you, in my memory,

My body held by your lap, the smell

Of cigarettes on your skin, your face,

Roughly shaven, alcohol, beverage and

Perfume, you were heavy, you lingered,

I could never rest.


You loved my soft cheeks. Not just mine.

It sounds so bad. You tried to do good.

Be good. I had been so blind to the demons

Underneath your skin, the tumorous forces

Boiling inside of your mind.


I refused to meet you.

For once, my heart had been in the

Right place. I can’t explain why.

It sounds absurd.

Nothing had ever felt stronger,

So irrepressible.

I did what my body told me to do.


What did your death communicate to me?

What made my body react the way it did?

Taking that step away from you. Forever.

I made it last that long.


And you ached

And longed for me.

Was it real? What did you want?

I see that pattern repeated. I see it repeated.


The tormentors disguised with masks of care

Reaching out every single one of their fingers

To grab the throat of forgiveness, to get that

Concentrate of absolution, out of my body,

My childlike mouth that didn’t find words

For the actions of her body, my body,

That saved me in the end after all,

Rescuing itself from lifelong lies,

Holding on to its own truth, finally,

And stepping away from a chaos that

Had never been mine.

pink petaled flower
Photo by Javon Swaby on

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