Afraid

I was afraid he’d stop breathing

During his impossible naps

I was afraid he’d fall and bleed

When he started walking too soon

I was afraid his own cells

Wouldn’t stop attacking his body

I look at him now

And see

This beautiful, peaceful, happy

White son

Barely beyond a decade

Full of joy

But sometimes,

I look at his crumpled face

And see

his anger

Will someone be afraid of him someday?

I’ve been hurt by white men

Death

Divorce

Desertion

Denial

Never with such devastation

Will my son

Who looks like killers

Be someone who hurts?

How do I stop?

What do I say?

How can I discipline?

When step away?

Will I be afraid of him?

The boy I loved the

Moment he formed

Before any of him

Formed

And then we formed him

Or tried

What if

I’m afraid

Create

Trying to create in chaos

Aching to break the pencil when

The words are sharper than any leaden tip

Staring at beauty and not able to reach

Out a finger because the

Air transference of my ugly

Will drain the color from the sea

Imagining myself a witch of the water

As if my powers of dark were so

Compelling

As if tides bowed to my

Anxiety

By absence I create

Watching massacres a wave away

Caught myself

Take away

Save myself

What’s left

Drug to shore

Lost creation

Desire

Sometimes I have to step away from those I love to follow what I love.

Shook off the attachments of cellular and developed family.

Crawled out of my own skin to fill another body, to speak other words, to feel another pain.

Seems absurd and unreasonable and false.

Sometimes I follow my heart even when I know I breaks others and I shouldn’t even bother to begin crafting the apology.

Because I’d make the choice again.

Sometimes my own words aren’t enough and I have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

It’s a kindness to be able to walk amongst other dreamers for a while and to build beautiful castles from wishes and poetry.

Among the things I left behind were my own words. I stranded my characters on a back road in Virginia, gasping for breath and driving hell for leather.

My son is next to me and I’m in love to be there.

But my book, my Jack and his cronies, they need me back and I’m anxious to talk to them again.

Forest For

Never so acutely focused

While so helplessly detached

House built within my room

Without me hearing a single

Hammer blow

Only think to look up

When I stop looking down

The nail in my own foot

Through and through

Pointing to the new ceiling

So encompassed

By my own pain

I don’t see the art

He made

Work of children

Ignored

For the play of adults

Not managing tears

Real or forced

The stakes are too high

Serves me right

Should sweat

Streak across the floor

Hope the skin catches

Pinches in the grain

Remember the trees

Cut down with my axe

The next time I

Curse the sun

Beg

Beg for shade

And burn

Union Jack

Union Jack

Straight lines

Crisp crosses

Bows a frown

When it sees me

A distant daughter

Opposite of austere

With constant

Tears threatening

Like a thunderstorm

Over Westminster

Every

Day

Weeping

Expected

Like

The changing of the

Guards

Upper lip so drooped

Its thinness a gift finally

Less weight to drag

A smoother slide for

Snot from crying noses

A dissociated joker

Of self-depreciation

Waiting to be stopped

At the gate

An ancestral Welsh mother

Fingers her own hankerchief

Embarrassed for me

I want to revolt

Throw taxations

Into the sea

And be free

But I can’t

Jumping in the

Sea before

I change sides

Even understanding the

Wisdom

Of reconciliation

I can’t see past

My own

Poisoned

Constancy

Shelf

When I was in eighth grade, I got detention. The only one I ever would.

With another girl who also went on to be a writer. A good one. A real one.

We were not detention girls.

The plan was to create a time capsule. Capture the essence and sparkle and unrest of 1991and save it from decay for a rainy day.

Keep a time that was so hard in the living but might be passingly pleasant with distant remembering.

What about putting something precious on a shelf while you still want it in your hands

Like taking freshly delivered flowers and hanging them upside down instead on a wall instead of right way up in a vase of water.

Keeping something to remember before it wilts. A memory of beauty before you put your hands around and turn it ugly with oiled prints

Shelf out of the way

Shelf I can’t see

Shelf I’d like to build in my heart if only

I had the support beams

To handle the screws

Close

Enough to get a hand on

Enough that if it fell the

Memory would break

At least one bone

Want to know it’s there

But not know

Because I don’t know

Leave it there long enough

Might be there for

The next tenant

Cobwebs and dust

Encroach and envelop

So it becomes part

Of the timber

That maybe you’ll forget

When you pack your boxes

And downsize

When your life

Moves on

Or you pry the wood

And take it

Splinters

Brackets

Paint chips

Reaffix to ribs

And fascia

Soft

And brittle

Carry your shelf

Until it becomes

You

Dust in your veins

Cobwebs in your valves

And the memory

Is all that lives

Controller

Up down

Up down

Left right

Left right

Here gone

Here gone

Long night

Long night

Pushed away

Pushed away

Left alone

Left alone

Held together

Held together

Edges sewn

Edges sewn

Blanket tossed

Blanket tossed

Heat apart

Heat apart

Space together

Space together

Smothered heart

Smothered heart

Tangled cords

Tangled cords

Electric out

Electric out

Written words

Written words

Spoken shout

Spoken shout

Risk divided

Risk divided

Assets tied

Assets tied

Chosen familial

Chosen familial

Defeat denied

Defeat denied

Persistent circle

Persistent circle

Hopeful love

Hopeful love

Shelved disappointment

Shelved disappointment

Expectations shove

Expectations shove

Scared restricted

Scared restricted

Movement dropped

Movement dropped

Hopeful foolish

Hopeful foolish

Heart

Heart

Heart

Stopped