Things at a distance …
The child learns
Not to burn herself on cooker top
Not to hold someone to their word
People don’t always return
Things learned at a distance
Words do not describe reality
Reality is not as they say
Life is funny and tastes of rain
One moment it flows then everything stops
Changes course
And you
Sometimes you are forgotten
For adults
Don’t always recall
The necessity of keeping their word
And that child
Grew with restraint and without rule
Clad in scraps of query and uncertainty
Unobserved, she learned not to learn
She didn’t sharpen her pencil and master how to take orders
Her mind they thought gifted but her’s was just a glib mouth with fast words
Sounding beneath the press of water, betraying its weight
Underneath she had no end to her dislike of being told what to do
And they told her
You’ll regret the way you are
Discipline helps breed patience
Patience is honed a virtue
She had none
Never learning her multiplication tables or grammar
She slipped as she ran
Away from the rod
He’d hit her you see, too much, and caused a break
Until she didn’t know how to mend her cracks
Only fury lay
Between her fingers spread against the sun
Silly frivolous fury, the kind girls are mocked for
Usually they are scolded, Child don’t you know? Real suffering exists! True pain! And you have so much and you dare say you are discontent?
Even the shame of knowing on the outside she was a white parody of excess and indulgence
With her predictable dysfunctions all signs of a weakness of spirit
Delving into emptying with hands tied by nurture and the unbearable shake of seeing
If you just got up every morning and jogged, if you just put that cigarette down
You save yourself you know
Of course she knew and like a woman weighted with stones she wanted to walk deeper into the water because every scratch of her fabric was flawed
Why did you let me be born?
Why not give my time to a marvelous well-adjusted mind who will study science and never play hooky?
She played it all the time and had nothing to prove nor music within her movement
No piano to learn
As long as someone
Who wanted to learn
And she
Wished to walk in olive groves hurting her bare feet with dry shrub
As the Corfu sun burned her scratched arms
Creating ugly stains for how she felt inside
Marks of time mottling her skin
Brands of all the times she tried not to be
And invariably
Returning to the mirror time and again, a looking-glass behind her eyes
There was her father’s jaw and elongated forehead
His thin red weathered skin tried by the hour
When they found out some DNA was stronger and certain people were genetically likely to outlast others
She laughed
Because she’d known that for years
You only had to taste the quality of their time
and in the future
They ran dry like a Texan Arroyo long baked by merciless sun
Her father once said
You reap what you sew
and she has thrown herself into air
With no seeds and no design
Just the bare howl of being aware
Knowing the grief she was ashamed and compelled by
Ticking in her imperfect hiccup of a soul
Unable to avoid the error of her need
To rebel against the majority who never seem to mind
But plod perfectly in time to some hidden chant
While she spun, losing ground, hurting and grasping
Never ready to fit herself into a shape commensurate with moving forward
If there were an edge to the world she’d be the one to push herself