The Anguish Cup

Hemp rope, bind
the chafing-tether,
tight to the stem,
and other-ended,
snugly wrist-wound,
make the scar tissue
crack and bleed,
regardless of whether
each move was gentle
or as light as a feather.

Thus, I carry ye
olde Anguish Cup.

It’s an old bronze chalice,
gifted by the thoughtless dead,
a legacy not worth keeping,
to them, a satisfying drink,
to me, sloshing bitter dregs.

I say,

“You! Damn you
and this wicked draught,
not safe for drinking!”

It is one-third filled
with hardened sediment,
the gravel and crumbs
from those old hammers
that broke me up.

There is no chisel
that could chip apart
that adamantine stuff.

A half-cup has settled…
the rinds and grounds
of my dying and dead,
these faithful hounds
that pushed their snouts
beneath my lowered chin,
and gently lifted
my haunted head.

another third,

The Now,

holds an uncanny
surface tension,
and swells above
the rim.

Please. Don’t make it overflow again.

There is no room left
in the Anguish Cup,
for anguish
that was not distilled
in my own head.

©️ CG Tenpenny, 2023.

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