IN THE WINTER OF MY LIFE
I hold tight the door with one hand,
just enough for cold to slide in
and snow to
sidle past, then die at my feet.
I won’t let
life tug the handle from my grasp,
my soul to the world. I hold tight,
just enough for breath to escape,
inhale and set the locks again.
I don’t want to tell you my name.
With it comes stories, my stories.
I don’t know you well enough yet.
Maybe others don’t feel the same,
Don’t need complex categories,
Don’t believe telling is a threat.
Find them then, and leave me the blame,
The nameless passions, the furies.
All mine. I take what I can get.
THE ART OF SOCIAL GATHERINGS
Calm and pleasant on the surface,
Smiling as I watch you pass,
I’ll ask you how your life is going,
Join the toasting, raise my glass.
Meet and mingle, small talk making,
I can party like the rest.
You walk by a second time—
You’ve never seen me at my best.
Don’t be fooled by my bright smile.
Don’t submit to charm and wit.
Underneath this glam facade,
I’m under-drawn and poorly lit.
Just another sketch book scribble,
Penciled in with time to spare.
Edges smudged and details missing,
Fragile. Handle, please, with care.
Lift me from this gilded frame,
Remove the ever-present glass.
I crumple under my own weight.
My truth exposed while strangers laugh.
Fading lines crisscross the surface,
A girl erased by her own tears.
I’ll ask you how my life is going
Even as it disappears.
UNTIL THE RAINS CAME
No one asked what I was making.
They left me alone to dig,
So I did a little more every day.
Maybe I’d plant a garden,
Or some trees for shade.
They stopped asking if I
Wanted to join their games.
I was too ashamed to say
I didn’t know how to play,
So I pretended that digging
Was what I loved most.
Come join me if you like.
No one asked what I was making,
And I didn’t know myself,
Until the rains came
And filled my moat,
Trapping me here in my castle.
Now I watch you there in the field
Dancing with the others in the rain.
Coach joined me on the bench.
Why aren’t you in the game?
I don’t know how to join the swarm,
So I’m watching.
For how long?
Since the game began,
Until I understand.
What have you learned so far?
The swarm moves a lot.
Get in the game.