lives, eyes, & faces (these obligations)

I’ll never be/Anything you ever want me to be
“Slipped,” The National

Cause it’s all right, all right to see your ghost
“Santa Clara,” The National

i have lives in my hands
& no one bothered to check
if i am capable of these obligations

i have eyes to meet
& faces to face
including my own in the mirror

you & you & you
can you see me here
will you forgive me & love me still

when i confess my inadequacies
bound as they are in loving you
that i can’t i cannot i can not

ghosts can never really hang on
ghostly eyes cannot see to see
& we can never know the face of a ghost

i can’t breath i can not breath
who could have imagined the weight
of lives, eyes, & faces for a ghost

what i know is what i know
& i cannot help seeing it
in all lives, eyes, & faces

all this is hiding here in my chest
ever expanding & threatening to burst free
for everyone to see what i see

—P.L. Thomas