Liquid

for many, the sun’s rising is a new start,
a spark of freshness and hope,
of some new unknown,
of possibility

but the sharp rays peeking through the black curtains were anything but;
they were sinister tentacles gripping and pulling her into the known,
which she fiercely wished was not

her blurry eyes were smeared with yesterday’s camo,
her mouth filled with sticky secrets she had tried so hard to swallow but never digest,
and this morning was just another in an endless slice of time that never seemed to pass

so she reached to bedside table,
desperate, not for the glass of water,
but for the two small pills that would begin her swift transformation from a solid,
something rigid, too tight,
to liquid, not flowing and fluid,
but a stagnant pool of nothingness,
however fleeting it may be

Duality

there are moments of astonishment and resignation that hold me forever in debt and bondage to the memories I harbor from living a childhood in a small, factory town,
in a family in constant battle

I belonged to a family with a fatal attraction to intensity,
to instant gratification,
to outrageousness of response

we were instinctive, not thoughtful,
connoisseurs of fight and flight,
never happy unless we waged our own private war against the rest of the world,
priding ourselves in our ability to survive

and the war just repeated and repeated itself,
only revealing itself to be a war against ourselves,
lives in constant, unrelenting tension,
always dancing with blind risk and driven by fear of exposure,
a life composed of ice and falling rock

these frequent moments of surprise and consecration center around a singular fear –
a fear of emptiness in life, nihility, boredom,
the hopelessness of a life devoid of thoughtful action;
it is the death-in-life of the masked perpetuity of middle class,
the fear of the kind of deep dive that brings forth truth which sends a shiver through my soul

I often try to ground myself,
remembering the days so long ago when I buried my tiny bare toes in the clean grass,
the fresh smell of rain seeping through the cheap wooden screen door as I stood, listening, with my innocent forehead pressed against it,
and I try to duplicate it –
if I walk my tired bones before the sun rises,
take the time to breathe in the silence of the air and feel the moonlight on my face,
I am sometimes able to connect myself to the deep hum of the planet,
inject life into the marrow of these papery bones

but if I continuously turn on the television or bury my face in the rabbitole of my phone to avoid an evening alone with myself,
it feels as if I am admitting my membership with the living dead

it is the humble, messy, industrial town part,
the splintered, chaotic part of me that is most quintessentially and fiercely alive

those small town, tumultuous memories are the ones that infiltrate the entirety of whatever authenticity I continually bring to light as an aging woman

it is an intricate duality that exists –
they can both fuel and extinguish my flame if I let them

Passed Past

I passed my old house today,
the longest lived of a dozen,
the one whose phone number I still remember

it looked so tired,
its warped cedar lining the sloping front porch,
and dirty, seamist siding cracking,
faded by the sun

and those same creaky boards offered welcome warning,
as feet three sizes too small walked me up the steps,
trepidus palms swiping years away to peer though the old glass

each foggy breath brought ghosts,
tear streaked memories,
mind’s eye seeing your long, silky black hair gone short,
your wistful hand stroking the womb swelling bigger than yesterday’s regret,
heavy dreams wilting, curling the corners of the flowered wallpaper

I heard your plastic giggle,
listening to the silly joke while you folded a shirt,
smiling on the outside, but your fickle heart fading like the scorched siding
and melting into mine

that’s when I realized I’d closed my eyes,
and my chest no longer rose, 
my own heart threatening to atrophy,
and when that last warm, exhaled breath faded away,
I saw your reflection in the glass,
staring back at me

with steely resolve, I turned and walked away,
down that broken sidewalk, past my sunken handprint,
and never looked back

-image via Pixabay