Tear It Out

Tear It Out

Billy’s life of quiet desperation
never before concerned you,
so why pretend to care now?

I stepped in to fill the void you left
when you snuck away with Ted,
taking with you all Billy held dear.

You always were one to capitalize
on a situation others find abhorrent—
your optimism extending to no one but you.

Soon enough he’ll be out of reach.
Is that what drives you to grasp for him now?
Is that why you squeeze those tears onto his pillow?

I long ago learned the futility of trying to best you.
You play the game better than I,
never questioning the value of the prize.

If my tragic flaw is clarity of vision, so be it.
I’ll offer you my eyes and feel my way home,
blind to all, including that in me which I hate in you.

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Watch Out! I’m Dangerous

High-Voltage Beauty

I read books of my own choosing.
I think my own thoughts.
I write about my own convictions.

I have no teachers, professors,
administrators, school boards,
bosses, editors, Facebook “friends,”
not even an audience—real or imagined—
to tell me what is or is not acceptable.

There are no golden handcuffs on me.
I am dangerous because I am free.

Change of Season

Change of Season

My mouth is dry,
my tongue thick and heavy.
It feels foreign,
as if it doesn’t belong to me.
Would my body betray me that way?

Perhaps I just need a glass of water
—but I’ve downed six or seven today,
and the thirst remains, unslaked, unmoved.

My lips are cracked,
and opening them hurts.
I’ve started communicating
without words,
but I miss them terribly.

Is this state of affairs temporary?
Could it be my very own
winter of discontent?

Out front, six or seven crocuses
are preparing to enter from stage left.
Daffodils and tulips will share the spotlight next.
Water from today’s rain puddles in their curled leaves.
I wonder if it’s enough for me.

Body Garden

Body Garden

Charlotte is gone,
and she’s never coming back.
Amy is as sure of this
as she is of the rose
beneath her nose
(a flower with no scent).
It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK.
Amy repeats it like a mantra,
willing her respiratory system
to attend to the soul,
not just the blood and guts.

Crippled corpus.

Charlotte has uprooted herself.
Amy’s new additions
appeal more than anything
grown from old seed.
They are
showier,
not prone to disease,
deer resistant,
genetically modified,
hybridized,
sterile,
a safe bet.

Cold frame.

Charlotte will be fine
in her new bed.
She comes from
resilient stock.
She has weathered
drought and flood,
unwanted attention
from deer and dogs,
cats and rats,
and nosy neighbors
trying to dig her up
or cut her down.

Delivery system.

Amy will keep
digging in the dirt,
paring, pruning,
separating perfect limb
from damaged limb,
adding the latest
offerings she finds online.
She’ll water, weed, fertilize
—in short, ensure that
her carefully cultivated,
prize-winning landscape
stays so full of flowers,
she never notices
what’s missing.

Memorializing Mediocrity

School Years

I jumped through school hoops
better than all but two of my peers
and was happy to keep my mouth shut.

At college I outplayed most of my mates,
simply by following the directions, and
typing up the words that were wanted.

It was early success for a slow learner
unable to figure out the important stuff
until her life was at least half over.

Acceptance

Those Eyes

I sing of a mother
facing deep rejection,
scandal, pain, and sorrow,
a mother who said yes.

She was a young woman,
untested, uncertain.
She needed trust to be
a mother who said yes.

The hope there in her heart
and the life in her womb
had to be enough for
this mother who said yes.

She knew that happiness,
shelter, security
can’t be guaranteed for
a mother who said yes.

But she chose love, knowing
that all we have to do
is step out in faith, be
the mother who said yes.

Skylos Brings it to the Top Again

Skylos

How does one know the difference
between self-preservation and self-effacement?
Distrusting appearances seems like a good place to start,
but where does one travel from there?
When foolishness is wisdom,
weakness is strength,
and suffering is good for you,
is recognition of humility pride?

Parables, commentaries, and critical analyses turn me in circles
—and leave me in a heap with my tongue hanging out.