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Natalie Walker Jan 2016
no matter how many times
I dust the shelves.
The trophies look more plastic than ever
and the cat collection is a little out of hand.
The books are still my pride and joy
but their covers haven’t been caressed in

Has it really been

I light a candle and cradle my thoughts in my cranium
tapping my toes in tandem with
THE TERRIBLE SQUEAK in my ceiling fan
I asked my mom to get that fixed
does she forget everything when I’m not home
do the doors go unlocked when I’m not home
do the cats go unfed
does the truth go unsaid

In the silence I can hear her.
I hear the little girl with the long braided hair
ask her mom for a book
For Christmas.
I envy her.

This Christmas  my list consisted of things
I know my mom can’t buy.
This year I asked for peace, for a stable career after college,
for a meaningful relationship that doesn’t
breed in the dark cracks of insecurity and small talk.
I asked for love, I asked for bathroom mirrors to stop insulting me,
and for people at grocery stores to smile more.
I asked for patience, I asked for the sun to show her face a little longer
so  I could finish everything I promised I would do.
I asked for joy, I asked for rainfall I could dance in, for a snowstorm where I can make snow angels and not care about the ice
that slides down my sleeve
I asked for knowledge, I asked for the stories of the unheard to be shouted from the skyscrapers
and for politicians TO STOP SCREAMING.
I asked for trust, I asked for lying to be illegal
and for people to feel safe when they hold out their hearts
in front of them.

I asked for someone to listen.
Because I know I can’t do this by myself.
It’s okay that we don’t fit out childhood beds
and growing up means growing out
of our once-favorite things.

We can stop asking
for books for Christmas–
as long as we write a new one
by Natalie M. Walker
Natalie Walker Jul 2015
Here’s to the creatures
that know how to love.
The morning birds
who leave their nests at night
just because the one they love
needed a wing to nestle under

The night owls
who leap out of bed
soaring to their companion’s side
just to sing good morning

The lions that keep their claws curled
so tightly away from their sweethearts
that the nails pierce like needles
into their own paws

The dogs that wait up all night
by the foggy moon lit windows
awaiting the return
of their adopted two-legged family

The otters that clasp the paws
of their darlings,
drifting with them down the stream
rather than alone in to heavy sleep

The animals, the mammals,
the dust, dirt, and air
the sway of the sea
the embrace of the sun
the breath of the trees
and the kisses of the petals

We were made to love selflessly.
We were born as gifts to keep giving
to the creatures around us.

No matter how many times
I am scratched and scared by the selfish humans that refuse to see something
other than their own reflections

No matter
The cheaters, the liars,
the ones with claws that don’t curl away
the ones that devour the hands that feed them
the humans who pay no mind
to the good in nature,
picking and pricking each other
with tongues of thorns
and fingers of fire

No matter
the empty promises
the wilted memories
the crumbled, half-hearted letters of apology

I choose
to give,
but not
to them
natalie m. walker
Natalie Walker Mar 2015
I have days so low
I wonder if gravity is depressed—
maybe his tight hugs
around our ankles
were not enough
of a connection,
so the Earth trembles
until she splits
and gravity drags us
to her burning hot core
In a way we all are like gravity
pulling each other in
hard, fast, recklessly
desperately wanting some
perfect planet
to see our
inner-most core

Yet why must we bring each other down
to let each other in?
You don’t have to choke me to hug you
You don’t have to shovel away my surface
to see what lies beneath
I’ll show you
layer by layer,
I will shed my surface
and shine brighter than
the stars of the greatest magnitude.”
Natalie M. Walker
Natalie Walker Jan 2015
We all have a universe of colors inside of us
too bad we never paint with the primary ones

a dash of her
a swirl of him
mix it up
splatter your face
and then
tell me when
you are ready
to show the world
these colors--
the ones you call your "own"
because it's safer that way

It's safer to sway in the shade
of another creature's color
and call it your own,
because at least you won't be alone

We're all just cool, sad, fine, tired
hungry, *****, happy, and uninspired--
we've all seen the rainbow
but where are the colors in between?

what about jubilant, irate, ecstatic
effervescent, elated, broken, sporadic

where is indigo, chartreuse, pavo,
teal, aquamarine tangerine or colors thought unreal?

our own primary colors
are not just red-yellow-blue
the people that surround us
are not just her-him-me-you
primary colors are those
that cannot be made from mixture

paint with your colors,
the ones the world has never seen
after all,
no one holds a paintbrush
like you do.
Natalie M. Walker
Natalie Walker Jan 2015
just because I like your eyes
or your twisted words that tango
in flashes of crimson and cranberry
with ideas of my own
I refuse to lay down my armor
at your traveling feet

You are a wanderer just like me
the world is not our oyster
but the massive emerald sea
and we hold our breath
as long as we can manage
brushing the sea ****
with our finger tips
and swirling with
the schools of fish
until we are gasping for air
at the surface of the water,
squinting in the sun to see
each other

I may never learn how to
breathe underwater
so don't hold me like you hold your breath--
I am not a temporary exploration

I am the sand and sunshine
where oxygen abounds
I am the quiet storms
and the furious clouds

There is a whole world above the sea
where you can breathe
and in that world,
you'll find me.
-Natalie M. Walker
Natalie Walker Jan 2015
Stars have their dusty days
the sea sometimes turns a sickly green
when the emerald sparkle loses its shine
wedding rings get rusty
children’s joyful eyes
sometimes sting with salt
flowers wither with winter
mothers yell at their children
all the most “perfect” images of life
have their dull and dark moments

today it is okay
for me to fade to gray.
Natalie Walker Jan 2015
I will be a tinder box.
I will be the match that strikes
against the darkest of arteries
running through their hearts,
and light their flames again.

I will be the oxygen.
I will purse my lips
with the breath of encouragement
until the flame is a wild fire
until they know what they are capable of
until they burn brighter than they ever thought
they would.
Natalie M. Walker
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