He offered her forbidden fruit.
She took it.
No questions asked, only glances given.
She sank her teeth into it as if it were a Georgia peach.
It was sweet, but
and she knew why God had told her
never to touch it.
She tried to hand it back
and he started to take it,
then threw it back at her,
she had ruined it.
Don't kiss me.
My lips are rough-- pure scar tissue.
from coughing up self-truths,
regrets, sobs, misunderstanding
and formal apologies--
They are always a lovely shade of red
swollen, bee-stung, sometimes bleeding,
I blot the stains,
but their shadowy ghosts remain,
haunting aches, and throbs.
Don't meet my eyes.
They are wells
one might fall into and break a leg.
They will take him out like a dying horse
and shoot him behind the barn
and bury him,
in the dank soil.
And I will come later, sorry, and put dying roses
in his dead hands.
But what for?
The dead are happy,
only misery wants company.
Don't reach for my hands.
I will hold it fast, at first,
soft anchor, and the fingers will hook into my skin,
but I, in uncertainty,
put my claws in
and then retract them, drawing blood
I never wanted on my hands.
I should have thought of this before.
I am sorry I did not.
Do not fall in love with me.
I will miss Autumn here.
The crisp days of October, startling the remnants of summer
The homely smell of hearth burned pine and smoked meat
drifting from chimneys built
by long-dead grandfathers.
The battle fields will be beautiful.
Bathed in maples,
harmless blood of leaves, though the earth
still bears streaks
The grasses, drying, dying, in the cooling air
will whisper to the sojourners passing through,
seeking sites of ancestors
whose voices they never knew.
I will not be here
to slip the fallen leaves
between phone-book pages or
paste and sew them
to handmade paper.
My mother will stare at the tangled thread,
the blank sheets,
left untouched on my desk,
and ask my father
where the time went.
If I am only ever a poem to you, I will be satisfied. A poem you heard someone read once, but you can’t remember the title, and only a few lines stick out. Snatches of speech still hang in a dusty closet of memory. Aired out by similar voices, phrases, overheard on the subway or at the supermarket. Somewhere in song lyrics you find a line, half a line, speak it softly to yourself. You may be aware of how your tongue bends to the words, notice how it brushes the roof of your mouth, and feel the edges of your lips come together— you might not.
It will not be constant. I will not be the belabored sonnet, the endless chant, the mantra you repeat day after day. I will be the fleeting thought, epiphany of memory, the light ache of a barely recalled past. Easily lost, in life, in noise, lost in the millions of words and notes swimming in your brain, fallen between synapses and currents. Half remembered, half lost— eternally. The half life reminder of a woman, a girl, in love with language, and lost in thought.
If I am never anything but a poem to you, I am satisfied.
Green is my favorite color.
But I hate that shade of it.
Because it will always remind me of
The green scrubs you wore,
haunting cold barren rooms,
Where they took your bootlaces
so you couldn’t choke the dreams out of yourself.
I wore blue that day because it was your favorite color.
You probably didn’t notice.
You felt hollow when I embraced you
All strength within seemed gone.
Your eyes, my favorite shade of green, were frighteningly distant.
You were there, but it wasn’t you.
Who were you? Who are you? Who should you have been if…?
You kissed me goodbye in front of the nurses,
And I saw tears in the corners of their eyes.
Even my mother seemed touched.
I walked in a haze across the hospital yard,
It was a bright day.
I wanted it to storm.
The garish sun seemed to mock me
As I curled in the backseat of my father’s car,
Staring at the food I couldn’t eat.
I hadn’t known
“Sick with worry” to be literal.
I haven’t known it since.
I hate that shade of green.