picasso-woman-with-fanYour mother would scold you
pick yourself up ugly child
clean your room, scrub and polish
until there is no room for doubt
you may be unloved but
you will keep a straight back and shiny shoes
and you
learned quicker than a mouse
can covet cheese and steal itself a piece
to keep yourself small and burning
for a time to pounce
back under the hot lights of attention
turn this way and that until you are
bronzed like an award you make yourself
for surviving
I am owed
you think as you spit on your reflection with shirt cuff
and shine it brand new
I am owed
for my childhood
all the taint it took, not to reduce to rubble
instead I built myself a fort and became unbreakable
because this world eats the tender-hearted
with morels and mustard for breakfast
crushes underfoot truth in her glass orb
it is better we inherit the sharp cold heart of our destroyers
lift up our skirts and cross the puddles
with insulated rubber boots
than wallow in the frigid water
wondering why
most of what we do and say is
superficial and a lie to
garner peace and stifle the dagger
aimed at our center
all good but for the gentle
soul who can no more hurt than
turn away from need
she who cups water in her hands
to feed the thirsty flower
struggling to grow through concrete
by the side of exhaust-ridden road
what miracles we behold
surviving against the odds
it is this solace
keeps us staying who we are
when the world would pitch fire
extinguishing mercy
leaving battlefields full
for crows to pick through
we endure, laying down our
arms, our faces pointed toward
the clouds and wait
for rain to pour down