Unburied Hatchet by Ryan Stone

Unburied Hatchet

Until I saw those wasted hands,
brittle as chalk, I hadn’t thought
how fast the years make ghosts.

I heard them once called brawler’s paws.
For me, they were always more:
cobras, poised to strike.

But his brawling days are gone now;
I could kill him with a pillow,
if I cared enough to try.

Thin sheets press tightly to a bed
more empty than full, his body broken
like the promises of childhood.

Haunted eyes betray last thoughts
of a dim path, spiralling down.
He hopes to make amends.

“Forgiven?” he croaks,
barely there, as always,
and I’m wishing that I wasn’t.

With the last rays of day as witness,
I turn my back with purpose
and hear the silence roar.

In a late-night bar I catch my reflection
swimming in a glass of bourbon;
but I’m staring at a ghost.

by Ryan Stone, first published in Writers’ Forum Magazine.

Guest Editor’s Note: A haunting poem about the ambivalent nature of forgiveness, and the necessity and impossibility of letting go.

Please welcome Guest Editor Catherine Rogers from April 3-7, 2017.

2 thoughts on “Unburied Hatchet by Ryan Stone

  1. Pingback: Unburied Hatchet published at Autumn Sky Daily Poetry | days of stone
  2. Wonderful Ryan. A serious subject matter indeed. Do we forgive when we are wronged so unjusticky when someone is dying no longer a ‘bear’ just a ghost of them self? It seems when the narrator doesnt forgive and it makes him a ghost too or perhaps he cannot forget such terrible memories. Maybe he would feel alive if he could forgive the past and move on. Is that possible?


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