016_imogen-cunningham_theredlistThere are differing forms of narcissism
and sadness
wrenching and unyielding
can produce
solid fat trapped in water
thickened floating, unformed intention
we cannot breathe
holding hands to jump rope pinching noses
against fumes of exhaust
her knees were smoother and brown
elbows protrude like question marks
and when you are both fortunate enough to be old
her breasts will still point upward
whilst you shall swing heavily like a dowel
losing time with the rest of the world
she is lighter, her skip higher, cheeks flush with
the sting of cold weather tingeing red pinpoints
you don’t know yet
a time comes, the path breaks
one way is without constraint
the other a heaviness
you cannot shrug like boiled wool
as you see her wet feet climb upward
there is nothing to stop the relenting undertow
that’s what children don’t know
when they play behind wire and protection of youth
but if you look closely
like the colt whose legs and teeth are examined by horse breeder
tapping his aquiline nose
you can tell the furlow of a soul
in their pedigree and infection
do they have worms or marrow?
she was born hot and unwilling
jaundice beginning with first labored breath
but if you gave her a chance to dance
she would break over you, turn into water
a hundred fingers enclosing
circles of diminishment
no matter how fast she danced
legacy caught up and held her down
Queen of Thorns
grandma why didn’t you
prune me back when you had the chance?
cut off my head and let dead parts turn me violet
before you grew demented and wan
why didn’t you tear into my stuffing and let
the tartan apple seed scatter
maybe I would have stopped being a child
turning into a great ancient tree
where the girls who had smooth unwrinkled brows
could climb and flash their starched knickers
hanging upside down catching bird song
reflecting off fish pond surrounded by nettles
I was always better at being a spectator
than entertaining life’s specters
you should have cut the cord
played your last best record
let the needle run it through
scratching out hurt and
unwilling children

0 Replies to “Unwilling”

  1. “Played your last best record” could easily have been a B side.” “Scratching out hurt” is something I can relate to, yet the process only makes it more painful. Thank you for sharing your gifts which evoke such wonderful and passionate imagery!

  2. You’ve expressed my thoughts so much better than I could. I ask “why?” quite often, no matter how old I get. We never grow out of seeing the monster in the mirror…

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