Walls obscured with despairs of those
who came before us. The Shadow Angel
greeted us. She spoke of who came before,
to pour their absent spirituality, humanity, life
into the bulwarks of the house. Anguished spirits
entombed to wallow in agonies they experienced in life.
Lost friends, lost loves, lost family,
failed dreams, broken marriages,
squandered prospects, endless loneliness,
every torment was experienced by
those who enter this dwelling.
The air was oppressive, crushing
in like an unyielding obstruction
forcing the air from our lungs.
Light could not penetrate the walls,
or our eyes as we stood in its ebony halls.
How, someone exclaimed,
does one rid this place of all this pain?
The Shadow Angel proclaimed
there must be a cleansing and purifying purge.
Only then the spirits can move on.
Oh, how do we release them? they bellowed
Then a single tear born out
of sympathy and compassion fell;
the surroundings slightly and suddenly
changed. We all began to weep
for the miserable dead,
cleansing with water,
purifying with salt,
made up our tears.
One drop rapidly became a tsunami.
The wave crashed and pummeled
against the walls with vehement vigor.
Then, it was gone.
They started to place picturesque
blissful memories upon the walls:
first snow of winter, first flowers of spring
holding a newborn baby, the bliss of a kiss.
The Shadow Angel expressed these walls would
only absorb the sadness; that joy flowed off
them as if they were coated in paraffin.
And they watched as those images
melting down, disappearing into the ether.
Then what was it all for? they cried.
The Shadow Angel declared, ‘Tis the House of Sorrow.
Its purpose is for those to lay down their pain
when there is no one else to annul it.
Tis here they wait till someone arrives
to wash it away for them.
I nodded to our angelic host,
then walked out the door. She called out;
do you not wish to imbrue these walls?
I replied no.
I got what I came for, to see if I
could resist temptation. I can let go
of my professional frustrations,
my solitude from others, my imagined failures.
Yes I, like those before me,
and those who will come after
will bring our personal burdens into those walls,
and they remain as they are;
fixed, in stasis, unchanging.