Jules Elleo

The Misunderstanding at the Heart of Every Sadness

I didn’t find you tonight,
so I unpacked a gauze roller
& bandaged the wrist I needn’t slit.

You didn’t give me a rendezvous point,
so I walked back to the metro station
& sat on a bench beside my imaginary twin.

I told you how much I missed you,
but you had already slammed the door behind you.
So I borrowed a white gold ring from a pawnshop
& proposed to the statue of the princess
down on Martyrs’ Square.

You didn’t return any of my e-mails,
so I hitch-hiked to the nearest shoreline
& paved the sea with indelible lies.

I forgot how your hand felt when
wrapped around mine,
so I picked up the dead bird on the sidewalk
& gave it proper burial in the snow.

You haven’t said a word in days,
so I blackened a page with the words
…..‘Don’t forget about me,’
folded it into a paper boat
& watched it sink
to the bottom
of an unopened bottle of red.


They Died

To belong to this world is humiliating.
………………..– Adonis on the Syrian war, 2016.

They died.
They are dead.
They died out of sight,
behind pressing headlines:
a prince weds a soap actress,
a president fucks a pornstar,
a football coach gets the sack,
the rise of that hip-hop artist,
10 things we want to see
in the new iPhone.

They died
& they’ll never breathe again
or dream again
or love again
or be hugged again.
They died,
their entire existence
way back somewhere
between page 7 & page 12.
Word under word.
Number under number.

They died
& they are all dead now.
Do you understand?
So dead
even our indifference
is of no use to them.

© Jules Elleo

Jules Elleo is working on his first full-length manuscript of poems in Brussels, Belgium. His work will appear later this year in Down in the Dirt, Picaroon Poetry, Adelaide Literary Review, {isacoustic*}, and The Pangolin Review.

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