One

Out of the smallness that is me

Not you

I don’t know how you stumble through this world

Or glide, shine, explode, trip

Out of the smallness that is me

Is the only point of reference

I’m no empath

Can’t speak for you, choose colors for walls or swatch of fabric

You may stand beside me all our lives

Rubbing shoulders, sharing scraps thrown

By the hedgemony

Still I am me and you are you

You born in a family of four

Eight, three, six

Me, born in zero

A concept that is Indian

As my concept is reduced

Shrunken, made to fit a narrow lens

Just me

Till this world strokes her end

On my wick

And kissing me bon nuit

Extinguishes the tick tock tick

Out of the smallness that is me

To some an ordinary, downright boring set of genes

We are not that much more to each other than code

The man who seaks a mate types;

Pale skin need not apply

I like coffee and cream not plain vanilla

Whilst to another I am a warrior, a fighter, a courageous soul

I could have fangs and scales and they’d love me still whole

Their eyes pierce the superficial wrapping of the world and locate my root

Still

I wake from salt, I die in sod

Alone

An only child, no lessons in

Understanding concepts of siblings

I hold your hands in imaginary play

You take the razor away and hide it behind teddy

We swim underwater to the same heartbeat

Imagination has a secret back door

You stay behind whilst I am forced

Out into a single stage for ill-prepared audition

Can’t tap dance your way to inclusion

The audience are sets of Siamese twins

One yawns, the other powders her nose

He tweeks his moustache, she fidgits on the balls of her toes

A dancer without freedom

As I am given too loose a rein

Tell the child to hush and stay out of sight

You may find her gone before she’s finished

Learning her lessons from the good book

And sun comes ashen and discolored through poorly wiped glass

Yesterday’s merriment hangs like a wreath in stale air

Adults drop their heads as if pinched with regret

Just yesterday we didn’t think on it

The hiss of spectator and judge dualing on parapet

Still I am me and you are you

Longing to transcribe the distance

Tap tap of moorse code

Flash flash the lantern extinguished by high wave

No translation

I sit

At a table for one

And watch the elbows jostle and spar

Closer than twice removed and strangers can understand

A plea we have no words for

In the long sum of day

Yawning at our door

Warm and content like a cat

Who has lapped spilt milk

Before it turned sour

Out of the smallness that is me

Seven billion voices and one

Stubborn in her persistent belief

We all

Count

Unwilling

016_imogen-cunningham_theredlistThere are differing forms of narcissism

and sadness

wrenching and unyielding

can produce

solid fat trapped in water

thickened floating, unformed intention

we cannot breathe

holding hands to jump rope pinching noses

against fumes of exhaust

her knees were smoother and brown

elbows protrude like question marks

and when you are both fortunate enough to be old

her breasts will still point upward

whilst you shall swing heavily like a dowel

losing time with the rest of the world

she is lighter, her skip higher, cheeks flush with

the sting of cold weather tingeing red pinpoints

you don’t know yet

a time comes, the path breaks

one way is without constraint

the other a heaviness

you cannot shrug like boiled wool

as you see her wet feet climb upward

there is nothing to stop the relenting undertow

that’s what children don’t know

when they play behind wire and protection of youth

but if you look closely

like the colt whose legs and teeth are examined by horse breeder

tapping his aquiline nose

you can tell the furlow of a soul

in their pedigree and infection

do they have worms or marrow?

she was born hot and unwilling

jaundice beginning with first labored breath

but if you gave her a chance to dance

she would break over you, turn into water

a hundred fingers enclosing

circles of diminishment

no matter how fast she danced

legacy caught up and held her down

Queen of Thorns

grandma why didn’t you

prune me back when you had the chance?

cut off my head and let dead parts turn me violet

before you grew demented and wan

why didn’t you tear into my stuffing and let

the tartan apple seed scatter

maybe I would have stopped being a child

turning into a great ancient tree

where the girls who had smooth unwrinkled brows

could climb and flash their starched knickers

hanging upside down catching bird song

reflecting off fish pond surrounded by nettles

I was always better at being a spectator

than entertaining life’s specters

you should have cut the cord

played your last best record

let the needle run it through

scratching out hurt and

unwilling children