The Sixth Hour: My Friend Rumplestiltskin

It’s been a month since I saw you last.

Our lives are ruled by agendas, measured by calendars, hustled by the ever-slowing ticks of the minute hand. It’s a matching game where no card has a partner, each wore slip fluttering to the ground from the stacked deck. If only we could spin free, golden days from sack-cloth and straw like modern Rumplestiltskins.

tell me, are we doomed

to only be cracked mirrors

of our parents’ fate?

The Fifth Hour: Clickbait

Welcome to the wonderful world wide web:

Where dreams strike poses on Kickstarter
And nightmares stalk message boards,
Taking unnoticed bytes of your time.

Where the static of 24-hour gossip that passes for news
Fills the empty spaces you forgot about
(Plus ones you didn’t know you had.)

Where addicted fingers twitch over keyboards,
Sharing and snaring, friending and filleting
To feed trends, trilobites, and trolls.

Where electric tendrils and fiberoptic leeches
Twist ’round your synapses
And feast.

The Fourth Hour: All The Things You Don’t Fear

I’m one of the lucky ones.

I’ve never been assaulted.
I’ve never been molested.
I’ve never been stalked.
I’ve never been raped.


I have tried changing how I walk so my hips don’t sway.
(Because that would be provocative.)

I have been propositioned in a store late at night by a man old enough to be my father.
(Because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit with shorts over it.)

I have hidden in the staff room to avoid male patrons who make a beeline for my desk.
(Because they can’t take a hint and don’t go away and I can’t say anything because customer service.)

I have asked my brother to not say he “raped” an opponent in video game matches.
(Because I know at least three women who have been raped and the joke isn’t funny.)

I have cut men out of my life for betting too close to comfort and was chastised for blowing it out of proportion.
(Because apparently I can’t accurately assess my own sense of safety.)

I have faced a man twice my age trying to lure me away from my friends at a convention, a place I was supposed to be safe.
(Because I wore something pretty and was too polite to say “No, I’m not comfortable with this.”)

I have avoided being friendly with men.
(Because I don’t want them to think that I’m being flirtatious.)


I’ve never been assaulted.
I’ve never been molested.
I’ve never been stalked.
I’ve never been raped.


Statistically, I have a 1 in 5 chance of being raped
and a 1 in 20 chance of facing sexual violence in some fashion during my lifetime.

I don’t like those odds.

Do you?

(And remember: I’m one of the lucky ones.)

The Third Hour: Before Darkness

Before darkness there was only Word

Or waters of a sea;

Perhaps back then there only was

What would be you and me.

For word and water, wind and waking

Requires, not to see,

But only will and wishing hard

Till darkness came to be.


The Second Hour: Forgive Me, Love

Forgive me, love.

I feel you pacing, your feet wearing a path back to the past

Only to have the present creep in with each dawn.


Forgive me, love.

I hear the little hiccup-sobs you try to hide in the folds of your pillow

Tucked away with all the other tear stains you won’t let me wipe away.


Forgive me, love.

I can see the lines of your body stretched rope-taunt with anger.

(There’s fear too, but you won’t admit that, even to yourself, and certainly not to me.)


Forgive me, love,

For burning bridges instead of building them.

Compared to the vast gulf of our silences, how can a hand-span seem so far?