like a child in a cornfield,
unable to see over the ears
but knowing he should be
among heads of lettuce.
or like Christmas in a warm November,
tottering with cogwheeled gait
toward the brink of a wrong season
i find myself
into the shoulder of tomorrow,
sometimes forgetting how i got here,
even why i came.
it’s late on a friday afternoon and
i sit barefoot on a couch that isn’t mine
thoughtlessly prying dead scabs from my feet,
red and raw from the dress shoes
i wore to a wedding
which also wasn’t mine,
a mere courtesy of presence
where i arrived late and
stopped to dance only one slow, slow dance,
smiling at the camera all the while.
nearly quitting time on friday, and
i look out a window which belongs to someone else,
but i’ve opened the shades half of the way
and they rest, crooked, on a curtainless sill
deep enough to sit in;
i don’t dare.
someone’s thrown a rock, and the glass is cracked
in one of the center panes; i can just see it through the blinds.
dreaming of home on a friday but
my fingers as they type don’t smell like my own.
it’s as if they knew i was dissembling,
that they should be doing some other work, following
a destiny which i surely didn’t sign up for.
strangely, the smell is of mice, caged, fed
and raised for breeding. i wonder
what that means.
“You will find yourself,”
said the half-inch slip of thin paper
folded carefully inside a mass-produced shell
of blandness and sugar that had been
haphazardly tossed on the fake-mica table;
patronization leavened with
the plasticity of the dough, polite pink font
smiling up at me with closed lips.
I silently added, allowing half the dry-witted confection
to slide awkwardly past my tongue,
admitting a departure from the normal
innuendo of things,
worn out from searching
down the wrong alleys
and fumbling in a darkness
of too many wrong turns.
The other half, meanwhile,
lay rejected to one side
of a cheap patterned plate,
clean now but for a grease-stained napkin
crumpled on top.
I wonder, does destiny always taste
like the memory of shiny heels
kicking relentlessly against
the back of a pew, shuffling forward
with hands folded toward the front
of the communion line?
For “tomorrow” I would have swallowed it whole.
not so much a stream but
a torrent, discontinuously melded
by glacial tides, angled emotions;
not a new way of seeing, exactly,
but my own voice, legible.
my own small fingers,
connecting pad to roughened nail
with each of your splayed ones,
flower petals pushed closed
by a hailstorm of denials,
a firm refusal in the meeting
cobalt and gray,
through which you view
the dreams you thought
abandoned you at puberty;
awake but almost…
there. The instant slips
between closing knuckles,
eluding coherence, dandelion seeds
shooed out by puffed cheeks
to sprout on the wind.
And you thought it was over.
two fires on a hilltop:
and a hope;
one requiring only my sanity;
the other devours my soul.
follow this string of crumpled words
between my stomach
and my reason for being,
take a step,
(faltered like its heartbeat)
trip and sprawl
a druid wringing spells
out of sodden dreams
and tired of being myself,
longing just to be;
breathless, blonde and singed;
a smooth swallow; an unfurled brow.
Trapped of my own weaving,
I can do nothing
but make my way.
Dying sun and broken spell
pebbled on a beach strewn
with stolen harmony;
black stone, white stone,
rounded in a ring
of some sort of significance.
On a hill above the house,
up a winding citrus-lined track,
another dying sun,
a broken scream
echoed in an abandoned grove, still citrus,
to what the scarab saw
crouched on a gray rock,
tokens rippled across a pond,
ripped through spiderwebs,
in an instant
agonies and pleasure, a
of something that
I used to be.
current carries headlong
toward a destiny
anything but mine
without taking a step
dream become fallacy;
to speak of