"Betrayal" Poetry Contest Winners / March 2013 (Issue 20)

Survivor's Guilt

by Heather Bell

 After Thomas died, and then Lev,
I remember that people spent a lot of
time talking about the life well lived but

Thomas had been a novelist/sometime-burglar and
Lev had AIDS and I know for a fact he liked
to sleep around and not tell the girls
about it, like

he was that blunt of an instrument of
God and

it suddenly occurs to me, just as it
will suddenly occur to everyone, that

I had always wanted to ask them if
they ever felt wrong or if

they ever felt like sun on glass or
if they ever felt so lost that

there were big trees outside but
so full of rot that they never
held leaves

but I kept my big mouth shut
like I always do and I liked to

listen to Lev snoring in the other room,
wrinkles by the eyes and some odd scent

always around him and I liked

Thomas' hair and I would touch it and
I would not say a word about his
robberies and that I knew he

had inadvertently pick pocketed his
own mother's wallet last Tuesday because I had

been with her while she bought
gelato and she was so sad

when she found out,
his baby photos were gone now,
and she wept like she had

really lost him.
This is a Finalist of Cha's "Betrayal" Poetry Contest. Read a description of the poem by Heather Bell here. [Read Andrew Barker's commentary on this poem here.] [Return to the "Betrayal" section.]
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.