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  • I see him in shadows by the pond
    near his house where I walk
    when I take that path to the waters edge
    down behind the thorn bushes
    he sometimes follows me in silence
    parallel
    on a higher path
    shadow man
    a shadow
    does he know I know he's there
    feel his frightened eyes

    he travels with darkness
    in a heavy cloud of fear
    he is fearful
    fearful of his own thoughts
    he fears he's invisible
    knows the demons in his head
    they are well acquainted
    he says he can unleash the monsters if he wants
    but instead holds tight

    when he comes here
    to me
    he comes on feet of fog
    says he feels a pull
    a call to come
    believes I have the power to ground him
    when the voices speak
    I won't let him in
    can't let him in far
    we stand in the yard
    he talks
    says he needs to talk
    he's grey
    skin grey
    red eyes
    does he cry
    he doesn't sleep
    he has drugs
    drugs of the prescription kind
    mostly still in the safety proof bottles
    where he keeps them safe

    sadness
    for him
    for me
    he's lost
    helplessness
    I listen
    I know his story well
    he tells it again and again
    stuck
    he shares in moments of great pain
    remembrances
    shame
    abuse
    speaks of hell unleashed
    things done to him and things he did to others
    lost in ghosts
    they go with him everywhere
    sucking him to shades of gray
    as he holds himself so tight
    and I want to hold him too
    he looks to me for comfort
    for forgiveness

    he comes closer to tell me with such urgency
    how he needs help to keep him from insanity
    he wants me to understand
    that he knows I don't understand
    apologizes for himself
    talks of things I can not see
    says I know the secrets
    of him
    of them
    please calm them
    him
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