080-francoise-dorleac-theredlistTremulous ghosts must stand in patent shoes around me
for I feel their hands on my shoulders tugging at my seams
I who do not cry
weep openly with sorrow
imagining is often harder than
bearing reality
I think of when he will not stand discontented
staring out at flocking birds
I think of the time I found a starling chick
lying cold on the ground
wondering at the bitter sky
why didn’t you give them a chance?
why did you let me stay instead?
the child who knew the flavor of strawberry milkshakes
was an artifice
lies from adults, how many more?
behind closed doors and screens
I met a poet an old lady who
wrote like she was on fire
when she didn’t write for a time
I knew she had died
again I railed
why take her? why not me?
I stand disillusioned and empty
she who played castanets and sang
she who had wind-chimes and wrinkles in
her vowels
she had so far to go
I do not
I am here at the fulcrum
waiting my turn at the scythe
it strikes me living doesn’t suit
those who feel everything
like a pretty shoe
isn’t practical for walking
you can admire its form
but it will not hold you up
I ache in ways I cannot give a color
or adverb
it is a disturbance of the soul
the card reader told
you have a dark shadow on your back
she has her hands around your throat
until she dies you will wish for your own death
or you could start drinking again
that might work
sitting at the kitchen table at night
rinsing grief from my palms
strange dark sounds comforting crushing hurt
I examine the bones of my face
they feel as if they should have come unglued
reformed into a mask of ache
outside neighbors children are awake
eager for day to start
a lone dog barks at the moon
because it disturbs the pattern of his knowing
it has been long since I dreamed
when I dream I have hope
hope which is always the most painful place to go
when returning to zero you see the futility
of setting sail just as storms are predicted
you were a hurricane I let whip me up
lent me hope
now I am a milkshake that does not
resemble real strawberries
I am sweet enough for take-out
but nobody knows the sadness behind
a glass that looks full and is not
just residue remains
sticking to the sides
I am holding on
trying not to cry
at the nature of things
some known
some found afterward in epitaph
my grandmother’s hand was
blotchy and purple
still I looked away believing her well
you see
I want to believe in fairy-tales
and ever after
but I confess
it is hard when we are surrounded
by lies in