Hour 13: Gerenuk

Long legs

Long neck

Slender

like all gazelles

But the male

has to be different

to show he’s not

like all gazelles

He wears his horns backwards

Maybe he’s a lover

not a fighter

Hour 12: Buttercup

From The Hunger Games by Susan Collins, pages 3-4  (click here to see the original text)

 

My fingers stretch

out, seeking warmth

finding only the rough canvas

Prim, cocooned in my mother’s body

my mother, still worn but not so beaten-down.

Prim’s face fresh as a raindrop

 

Sitting at Prim’s knees, guarding her,

Buttercup,

He hates me.

distrusts me

he still remembers

how I tried to drown him in a bucket

last thing I needed

was another mouth to feed

But he’s a born mouser.

 

when I clean a kill,

I feed Buttercup the entrails.

Entrails. No hissing.

This is the closest we will ever come to love.

Hour 11: Dear Self

You are twelve and buried in sorrow

So innocent; no thought of tomorrow

You’re wishing for big tits

And legs that are not sticks

You’re writing your diary in Greek

To stop your mom when she peeks

 

You are fifteen and torn apart

By family. You guard your heart.

You wonder if love will find you

You know more than you ever knew

You’ll be dreaming of stars soon

And colonizing the moon

 

You are twenty, trying to find me

Pondering old age and mortality

Love has left your heart broken

You are leaving too much unspoken

But words have dangerous power

And last forever, beyond this hour

 

You are twenty-five living alone

Joyful in the solitude, making a home

You are not ignorant in your bliss

You know all of life won’t be like this

You can’t enjoy all you’ve built.

Because they wallow, you drown in guilt

 

You are thirty-five, living the dream

Trying to lift them, makes you scream

You go away, they find you still

You never can do what you will

Where’s the foolishness, the fun?

What can you do? You run.

 

You are forty-five, setting new goals

You’ve reached enough to please your soul

You think it’s safe, you think you can

Open the door to them again

But as you thought, you are betrayed

Again. But you let them stay

 

This is you: Dreamer and dreamed

Life’s not as easy as it once seemed

Your legs look fine, your tits have dropped

You still know Greek, your hopes are cropped

But no regrets for what you give

Yours is a life that has been lived

 

Hour 10: A Moonless Night

A moonless night is not enough

To hush the footsteps of the damned

The soft wood along the dock does not

Muffle the sound of moonbeams falling

Like angels thrown to earth

Stealth does not silence

The clicks of claws against the concrete

Close your eyes in vain

You can still hear them creeping through the fog

Hour 9: If You’re Reading This

 

Love has died again

Smothered in too much pain

To escape this time

 

You were never mine

Alone. You left a trace

Of bitter for me to taste

 

This fearful world bereft

Of heart. All that’s left

Are tears rendered

 

Dry and tender

After that last kiss

Goodbye. If you’re reading this

Hour 8: Sevenling (You’re invited)

You’re invited

To the party

political, polite, public

 

Choose your dance

pole, break, wild

And lose yourself in the joy of forgetting

 

The red shoes were punishment for vanity

Hour 7: Fern

She so wanted to dance

To sway to the music in the arms of love

To disturb the air with the swish of her gown

To sail across the floor

Daring new adventures

 

She didn’t know where to put her hands

What steps to take

How to sit in a chair

So she sat serenely

where mother had put her

In the wallflower corner

In last year’s gown

And sister’s worn shoes

Hugging onto her broken fan

And waiting out the waltz

 

The music faded into soft noise

Until she stopped hearing it

No one asked her to dance

 

The end of the waltz

Startled her to wakedness

She had aged into her chair

And there she stayed

‘til the ball was over

’til it all was over

 

Hour 6: The door’s locked

The door’s locked against me

Or maybe it just sticks

as if it wants to guard against entry

or exit

Put some muscle in it and I’m popping the lock

Or the block

 

Behind it

The dirty, scarred file cabinet

where I store all the sorrows that took my tears

I’m empty of tears now

but I can’t have my sorrows staring me in my face

One day I might fill myself enough to face them again

This space that should be mine is not my space

 

Is it a room or a storage place?

Crammed with reminders

Of how none of the pieces of me fit

Together

Of how nothing that is mine is sacred

Reminders

Of how I don’t fit in here anymore

In this space that once was mine

 

This space is not my space

Not the refuge I sought

for gathering thoughts

crafting words

This space is a fort,

a last resort

Where I might survive the siege

 

If I push, I’ll see

The door’s not really locked

I just have to put a little muscle into it

Clear the debris

Enter in

Or exit?

Hour 5: Pasodoble

Remember

When you wrapped me around your shoulders and

I hugged myself to you

like a consuming fire?

As we floated above the floor

I inhaled your air

and exhaled my smoldering flame.

 

Until

You felt my love a dousing rain

Assaulting your blazing light,

smothering your cool points

You twirled a pirouette into a revolution

 

Entwined in your heat

I followed your rhythm

Did you know:

You carried me with the fire

 

As I leaned into your kiss

Your killing blow

hidden in the heat

hiding in the beat

Found my heart

 

I smoke at your feet

holding on to passion

drowning in the rage

Hour 4: Foster Child

“Thou foster-child of silence and slow time”  (“Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats)

 

When a steel butterfly sat upon a slice of orange

Feasting on the sweetness

The world faded and all was still

Waiting to hear a proclamation

Profound wisdom

Profession of love

 

All we heard was silence

All we saw were

Colors shimmering in the darkness

And memory of light

All we felt was awe

At the beauty of the stillness

And the silence

 

What fool thought to capture it?