“August Nights – Paths Between the Waters” by Doug Miller


I've earned this sadness, with a hide hardened and tanned,
With ancient sins committed, but never truly paid for,
With trails of betrayal and flippant wounds delivered,
To ones loved and left behind, some dead, some dead enough,
To embittered souls who still damn me
With their evening prayers (does God, that mischievous player, goad or comfort them?).

"Fie, fie... a soldier and yet afeared..."
This hidden beneath a physical belligerence,
Offhanded arrogance, casually delivered,
Cloaks of deceit, pockmarked harbors full of battered ships,
The pretense of we fragile fools…

(The still building heat of an early summer evening
Is unabated by alcohol or regret).

Wounded hearts, Orphaned beauties
(They were all beautiful then, 'round the bed
With tight asses and undisclosed needs...)
Some pretended to accept me, hear me out,
Mirror the longing and the lack
But lord, long ago,
In the dawn
Of what has devolved to this.

Self pity, that scab upon the soul,
Holds that the core of Hell may be made
Of evenings like this, begrudging nightfall,
Or cooling of any kind.

Before dawn, I'll run the path that separates
The canal from the river,
Waning days from the old and broken,
And with shortened stride, and dwindled pace,
Will mark other paths taken to this place.
Most assuredly, of strides taken toward this place...
Scraping shoes against cinder, shoes over stone.
Songs of the Cromlech and ancient faiths...

Songs of mourning/morning between the waters.