tears, et cetera

by strannikov

the physical pain

tears testify to can be



other pains take note

and find deeper recesses

for tears to travel.


one sequence of tears:

memory itself conceives,

is what tears express.


tears give substance to

and make memories alive,

joy and loss (as pain).


tears of self-reproach

(never? sometimes? rarely?)

threaten to drown us?


my tears must be cold:

had I ever felt their heat,

would I dare now burn?


regrets don't steer time

nor do they postpone our graves:

tears fall, as we do.


only do regrets

precede our deaths, only when

resolve intervenes.


no one's tears endure:

all enemies are mortal,

all families, too.


tears not seen, not heard

in decades-long private rooms

return to their hearts.


no days are retrieved,

tears wash only as they fall,

no year is restored.

my heart, struck with drought,

pumps its powders into my

desiccated eyes.


will tears find me yet?

which absence dares to explain

my drought-ravaged heart?

I'm as vanished on

the threshold of this desert

as any sands here.

a ghost is just this:

a memory unable

to obtain its tears.


ghosts are local plagues

of unexpended grief—tears

can't be bodiless.


the validity

of tears: could that which we mourn

return the favor?


who sheds tears because

of the incapacity

to weep and shed tears?


tears prefer the dark,

they can't stand spotlights that would

evaporate them.


tears fall in silence:

they can be heard only when

their liquid salt spills.


onions do not have

the stamina to produce

the tears we require.


tears do not console:

the pools they form must be deep

enough to sail in.

a fire I lit blows

out, then its smoke rises up

straight into my eyes.