The Past

We think of the past as a place, and measure our distance from it — leagues and fathoms and miles — as if it were behind us, rather than within us, carried along with all its burdens, its hurts, its many horrors.

We try to bury it in the ground, its bones, the remnants of its flesh, but still it lingers, the grinning skull of its face. It stays close by me, abides with me, sits close as a lover or friend, one hand on my arm, face upturned to catch the light of my gaze.

How I wish it had a body, a beating heart. How I wish it were separate from me, apart. How I wish I could leave it behind.

I wish the past were a place, a foreign land I could swear never again to visit, instead of what it is — this burden, this flesh, this grave.