Issue 10, Spring 2020

For Just One Day

By Betyna Bock

Dedication to My Father – Karel Bock

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell. A Hell of Heaven.” – John Milton, “Paradise Lost”

I wander through the labyrinths of your mind
straining to find a way
to absorb your suffering.
So that for one day,
For just one day,
your torment will stop,
and you can have peace.

I drink in your acid tears
to hold in my heart.
So that for one day,
For just one day,
you will be eased
of the burning in your chest.

I find you
ground down by guilt,
eroded over time
by ruthless self-judgement.
Pounding yourself
with the question,
Why did I live
when Philip was gassed?

I stretch myself
backwards in time
to revive your beloved brother.
I spill out my life blood,
transfusing it into the earth
to reach him,
so that his death
will be wiped out
of the history books.

I crack open my soul.
I excavate its marrow
I give to you
to knead like clay,
to remold your loved one,
breathe life into him.
So that for one day,
For just one day,
you can both return home
and live the time of your youth,
walking and singing
in the lilting streets
of Prague.

When he returns to you
your suffering will stop
and I will know
that I have given you both
back your lives.

Betyna Bock c.2019

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