The You I Once Knew

“This isn’t the you I knew.”
The girl cries but can’t even look in his eyes.
Because all his lies have collapsed
Along with the respect she had built
for the cold, steel man not at all
Standing tall and stainless before her now.
Before his warm hands held, entwined,
Every hope and dream for which she now grasped.
But now his cold palms pushed away, snapped,
All the love their bodies had once formed.
So all the girl says as his figure, his stature, disappears
Is a broken-hearted whisper:
“This isn’t the you I knew.”

“This isn’t the you I knew.”
The son can’t forget as he peers into the casket.
Because lying on a silken pillow
Within the wood that holds his hollow frame
Is the fallen father of a boy who had grown up holding his hand.
The eyes which before had brightness behind the lids
Now rest closed so the old man can’t see.
The old man’s shrunken body: once strong and limber,
Then frail, now lies lifeless, with no pulse or warmth for the boy to sense.
The boy’s memory reminds him of all the years which passed by--
Every hug, joke, laugh, and outing the two together lived.
So the son, no longer really a boy, whispers one sentence:
“This isn’t the you I knew.”

“This isn’t the you I knew.”
The teenager steps back from her friends’ reach,
Realizing for the very first time in her time
That she’s bleeding from being stabbed quietly in the back.
The person before her was once her friend
But now is just a thief who she sees used a dagger.
The hands which had before thrown baseballs or painted nails
Now throw shards of glass, painted with blood.
The teenager turns back one last time
To see a mirage of pictures deflected in the shattered pieces.
These images of the two had always wrapped them both
Like a blanket, pulling them close, giving them warmth.
But now the pictures smother, strangle, and bleed her
As she sees their meaninglessness to the one shattering.
So the teen whispers, as she stumbles away:
“This isn’t the you I knew.”

“This isn’t the you I knew.”
The churchgoer kneels against what he feels
As he covers his face but looks up to the painted top.
The God who had given rules for black and white, right & wrong,
Now didn’t seem bright, but a fading, dull gray.
The God who as he grew, had always made clear what to do
Now seemed as circular and dizzying as the earth’s spin.
The God who was supposed to be close, seemed distant.
The Savior who had conquered all seemed disinterested in his war.
The believer who had once believed he was guided by God’s hand
Now could just barely believe there was a drawn-out plan.
“What could he”-“How could he”- “What should he do?”
The adult lay down on that pew his idea that life could be without pain
And he didn’t know why-- not at all—but accepted there was still life & love.
Though his view of God and man would never be the same,
He whispered a confused, hurt, but attempting prayer above:
“This isn’t the you I knew...”
The barely audible whisper shook with his eyes wet and red,
His body exhausted, his heart stretched, and hope thin.
But he attempted once again the acceptance
He could just very barely find the strength to win:
“This isn’t the you I knew...
This isn’t the you I knew.” 

--Written by Sandy Heights

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