The criss-crossing clash of tiny dishes echo in my mind,
The self-orchestrated visions of my past resurface,
Times of glory, times of disgust and hate,
I scream in the darkness of my mind,
As the ether mask is placed over my mouth, choking my protests.

A guilt that consumes,
A guilt that devours,
Reaches down wrenching out my soul,
I shudder, my legs tremor,
My back stiffens,
A gasp released from my lungs.

I stare in disbelief at my guilt,
As it actualizes before me,
It twists, it turns and swirls,
Taking a perverse form before me,
I drop to my knees, body rigid,
Offering myself in prayer to my guilt, to my soul.

Do I deserve what I desperately require,
Is it fair to ask this of the world,
My mind spins to the ringing chorus of answers,
To each of my pertinent questions,
I cringe straining to make out their replies,
Is this my personal hell?

I formed and molded my private hell,
Out of each decision along my road,
Stretching back as far as I can remember,
“No,” I don’t deserve what I seek,
The voice echoing in my mind,
Whispers with a mocking laugh.

A laugh I shall not be soon to forget,
Mockingly the voices swirl within my mind,
I stumble from question to question,
All the while the laughing echoes,
Into the recesses of my vacant soul,
Tears flow down my ashen face.

My jaws are pried wide open in horror,
The ceiling spins, the walls melt away into darkness,
My eyes blink as the needle impales my vein,
Insecurity washes over and through me,
Will I succumb to the voices, will it wash hope away.
~ Mark Beré Peterson (2012)

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