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When I Tell You

Josh Hagy

If I tell you I speak to the dead in my

dreams, it is a confession of Saul’s sin I did not

mean to commit in hope I will no longer be required 

to live among ghosts. If I tell you I have lost my way,


do not scoff at the price I paid for the scars I live.

You have your sins. Do not try to discredit mine.

If I tell you I sometimes look heavenward and

marvel at a silence so real as to be tangible, understand


it is because I have looked deeply into the night and

know sometimes there are witches who will speak my

destiny unbidden. When I tell you every morning I

pick up all I can carry, it is because I fear tomorrow’s


burden will be heavier than I can bear, for I have come to

learn we live by inches but we die by feet, and I know damn 

well it is not the weight of Earth that presses relentlessly

upon the dead, but the weight of all they have left unfinished.

About the Author

Joshua Hagy is a newspaper columnist, English teacher, and food enthusiast who spends what time he not writing or working searching for the perfect taco (so far, El Camino in Seattle, Washington, is the front runner). He lives in western Virginia in a small town that wants all the advantages of being bigger without understanding it has to grow in order to have them. His love of poetry came from learning how to teach it for the first time, and his attempts at writing it come from the students who showed him how by writing their own. He is 35 and has been happily married for more than a decade, but doubts he is ever going to stop being disappointed that his superpowers have yet to kick in.

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