Oh, how my heart aches

Her final words vanishing

Among the rising din of distracted conversations.

An embarrassed thank you

And the hollow sound of her father’s solitary applause


She casts about for the exit

Where florescent light

Only accentuates the presence she longs to diminish.

Across her neck and chest

I now see

The precious scarlet blotches

I know

Will betray her silence and

Disclose a place most dreaded

where she has arrived

to atone for

this hideous crime

all dressed up for the occasion

she wears failure as a hair shirt

under the glittering gown of regret.

a crown of never again.

It will get better, I lied

Lauding her courage

And dressing her wound with words

Of no consequence-

“Be scant with your regrets

And generous with your failures”

Desperately rummaging through the

Gallery of Regrets

I offered her

the small bird

I shot through the neck

with a BB as a boy.

She turned away


staring out the window

“The bird is yours”, she whispered

and its lifeless black eye stared accusingly

puncturing my point

it popped like a balloon

leaving me to wipe up the

cost of this confession


Carelessly I tried to reshelf the bird

but it fell again into my life

the palm of my hand

limp and still warm

a scarlet blotch on gray down

and it was no good

The bird was mine

the song hers,

and I saw

we would carry our regrets alone

as the burdens of love and life

weighed heavily on us both.

-David Heaney

January, 2018

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