I like you. You seem friendly enough, and
I’ve tried my damnedest to relate to you
the truth. For example, it’s true I came
to you. But I came for pharmacy
and lethe, not because I want help rolling.
I can roll my own, thank you very much.
But some rocks never should be pushed aside,
no matter how long the cavern’s fetid
contents have been left to lie and fester.
Some dark miracles are best left unseen.
Beyond my stone smolder unborn nightmares,
gravid memories, cold imaginings
—brothers buried, grave with my guilt and fear,
neurotic worries about my children,
cowardice, shame, and that nameless male lack
(call it unsatisfied animal lust)
that underlies a plethora of
human tragedies—all ultimately
reinforced by my complete and utter
decaying existential hopelessness . . .
Such are my antichristic afflictions,
and so are they so unsafely tombed. But
my weary, ribby, cart horse sense of self
preservation implores this pestilence
stay sealed up in darkness. No risk to you
if we should choose to press on with breathing
life into my dead, exposing them to
unkind light by my naming of their names.
Ryan Stovall is a former adventurer, world traveler, and Green Beret. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rosebud, Geometry, The Cape Rock, Here Comes Everyone, The Deadly Writers Patrol, and As You Were: The Military Review. Currently finishing his English degree, Ryan lives with his family near Bangor, Maine.