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