tell me how your ancestors sit atop your shoulders

are they angels, or demons? do you see strangers in the mirror?

in the curve of your nose and your round baby cheeks

do you see them in your dreams? the sandpaper faces 

and their pretty little houses, or their sad eyes, in the pictures

do you imagine what their favourite colour might have been

and find them hiding in the photos, like they’re scared to be seen

and do you feel their poison-blood, as it drips down your throat

like honey kisses they never gave

to you cry when you see the photo albums, and think

about how we’re all going to die someday?

tell me, how you’re haunted by their triumph, and 

you’re scared of their mistakes, ‘cause you can see it in your eyes sometimes

and you know you’re just the same?

do your lungs heave with their disease, do you feel their trauma twist and mutate

into something all your own?

do you scroll through wikipedia, and wonder

if you’ll ever take their place?

and slip down the winding deer-track at their waterfront estate

or their tiny backyard, down the ways things could have been

letting half-baked narratives sprout like seedlings on your little pink tongue?

do you sear their faces into your brain

in a strange kind of obligation

do you swear to god you’ll never forget

or do you close your eyes, exhausted, and let them fade into haze

and do you wonder

if you’ll ever haunt someone else quite this way

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