Justin Sanders's "for all the other ghosts"
In rivers that run past a gorge, over a rotting acre of pines, on strips of mountains, across the county lines and diners and backroads, through the grid-lines of cities and crumbling bridges, on swamplands and marshes, sunken in dirt and mud and stink, all histories are threatened to be forgotten. Only in its people, only in their movement through places in times, are there mounds of bodies still left behind. In those bodies are mythologies, tales of breeze and silence. Black birds circle above there, their wings stretched in skeletal, feathers as stripped as nothingness. They swoop across the crooked trees and down to those mounds of soil, tasting only corpses, only everything.
The patterns of violence in hatred, sexism and racism, are revisited often and again. They’re in our lands, they’re in our waters. They’re our geographical graveyards, tombs of foundation from which everybody now lives upon. But who will speak for their ghosts, even those who don’t know they will die? For those infected with the cringe sight of reality, how can they still exist, still have hope? They survive as forsaken, in the scent of tequila and tobacco and roses.
Ghosts are a truth of our fear, restlessness, their spirits a taboo. They shift into stories of urban legends and folktales, into fragments of words whispered, in dark in flame in lips that tremble. They’re spoken about and then hushed, mouthing only their horrors.
For speakers of true fiction, stories that are real and not real and alive and dead, they scan the horizon, their eyes worn down, hanging in blood flesh. They try to say everything at once, but cannot. They try to speak about what happened in this graveyard, in one story of generations within generations, selecting that one apart from all the other tombs known, not known. But their throats coil out black smoke. They shake of knowledge, layered from living in dying, as witnesses or more.
is there space for
redemption, revenge, or forgiveness,
or is there no amount of time to truly
recover, to be sane of the evil again?
There are never any choices in death, no dreaming in murdered children, no blotting of the assault and fear. We of the lands and rivers and valleys, who come from a family of the dead, cannot ignore who we are, what we’re capable of: a potential for great love or horror. And what histories have we followed before, what will we follow again? For all our lives, there are ghosts that will never be heard, will never be redeemed and known, will never be human anymore.