“You Can’t Tie Yourself to Smoke” by Jordan du Toit

You can't tie yourself to smokeIn love with a ghost
the fumes swirl around my head.
I can’t see your silhouette,
not anymore –
only the haunting past, all substance faded and dry.
You are the ghost of my dreams,
a half-formed ideal,
better left to fairytales.

You can’t tie yourself to smoke,
or use it warm yourself in the dark.
The fumes drench my eyes.
All I can see is the memory of you.

You sit on the pedestal I carved.
I made it from my bones.
Did you know that?
I raised you to the sky,
I gave you meaning,
I gave you goodness.
Now you are just a relic of a past bitterly dead.

Now you drift,
a ghost with nothing to cling to.
You smell of hamartia and broken things.
You taste of the Fall.

I tried to give you wings, once.
You fed them to your flames.
I tried to pour the sun into your holes
but the centre consumed them all.
I loved you to distraction.
You killed your soul to hide from me.

Oh, lonely ghost, wander your haunts,
wallow in your disgrace.
The mourners have left,
your grave lies barren.
I lay one dead rose down,
only for the bitter earth to enfold it.
I whisper farewell into the void.
My footsteps echo in the empty sky.
Your silhouette stretches out formless fingers,
just missing my spine.

Jordan du Toit (@jorderin) is most comfortable writing about and photographing others and dislikes writing bios about herself. She is currently in her honours year pursuing her other passion studying the species we belong to through psychology. She would like to one day combine these two passions in writing accessibly about psychology on themes she feels most strongly about: gender and sexuality issues, feminism and development. She completed her undergraduate degree in English and psychology at the university currently known as Rhodes, and is now studying at the University of Johannesburg. She has previously been published in For Rhino in a Shrinking World (an anthology created to live alongside rhino conservation projects) and Arial (an anthology compiled by a creative writing group in Rhodes University every year).

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