panic

the panic waits till I’m asleep

lifts me from my unstable trance

to remind me that I need to feel it

that panic echoes in my ears 

“Yes, Sheila, you’re going to feel it.”

 

makes my heart jump and skip 

as I peel my shirt from my chest

start chanting prayers 

visualize where he’s at 

start covering him in prayer 

imagine angels by his door

his sleeping body under its wings 

 

tell the panic to leave me alone 

let’s go back to that unstable sleep

then tomorrow I’ll feel it, I promise 

“Yes, Sheila, you’re gonna feel it.”

home

big stream of little tears 

hands shaking off 

massive fears

the grieving left

but now I’m waiting 

for it all to come back to me 

God – please don’t let it

come back to me

let the child that I now see

stay forever 

i welcome a miraculous mystery

can’t

 

I can’t even enjoy the rain anymore.

I’m always pacing, reaching for the door. 

I can’t even savor my meals anymore.

I’m always eating while standing; 

hurriedly chewing and choking. 

I can’t even stand my showers anymore.

That water hurts my burgundy 

striped shoulders.

I can’t even stand to stand anymore.

The gorilla on my back just keeps 

getting older. 

I can’t even love my words anymore. 

They just sit here pretty like, 

as a constant reminder that 

I just can’t anymore.

 

 

 

past

rusty gate called me in

off that weed infested path

lined with the statues your aunt made

all those Raggedy Anns and Andys

with their red button stares and permanent smiles

creeping me out, but you loved them

 

open that rusty gate – hear its exclamations

wipe my hand on my thigh, watch the orange dust fly

walk barefooted on the gravel

feel the stones pierce my flesh but

my strong child self doesn’t cry

look to my left over the fence

see the lightning bugs emerge

pray one lands on me – it’ll give me luck 

 

walk into that darkened house

tiptoe around all the statues on the floor

look past their frozen happiness

sitting on the tables, waiting around the corner

stay brave with all their eyes on me

turn around and suddenly wish to leave

the house is just too eerie

 

run outside, ignore Raggedy Ann’s glare

close the rusty gate – hear its low moan

think, I’m too young to care

dash to play with those fleeting lights

and when you ask, “Did you have fun?”

I’ll pretend I didn’t hear you

walk past and embrace the fading sun

 

 

 

 

float

Takes me back to that time,

watching it glide cross the

water, its dance with wind.

Gives me pause, slows my heart.

Old raft, it calls me in.

 

Takes me back to that time

when I marveled at how

the harlequin Danes roamed

on the in-between path

as we walked towards the foam.

 

Takes me back to that time

being rocked to sleep with

sand tangled in my hair.

My lips dry and salty,

back then I didn’t care.

 

Takes me back to that time

smiling across the fire,

when I didn’t fret so.

I just was, brought me back

to that time long ago.

reflection

I dreamt I heard the floorboards creaking

hoped you might be home

but it was only the piano again

the pedals were moving on their own

my ghostly player knows the gravest arrangements

it plays with the most mournful tones

caressing the E’s, lingering over the G’s

hear its breath during the pause

makes me grow quiet, knows how to make me grieve

causes me to get lost in my thoughts

think about when you were home last

how I miss your face, miss our family

miss everything, miss the past

the pressing of the pedals

I just can’t stand it anymore

smelling the absence, feeling the regret

I cry for my gifted spirit to stop and go away

but it only nods and continues to play

 

 

mask

she is so perfectly agreeable

with her fading eyes and lost smile

they only see her bravery

looking past her hollow words, her slowing breaths

how she longs to not be so perfectly agreeable 

yearns to not care 

get lost in her own storm 

twirl, get tangled up with the wind

and prove you wrong

cause remember, you think she’s so strong

but if you listen, you’ll hear the subtle quake to her voice

the whispery sound of her words

she’s had lots of time to practice not being heard

cause it ends so badly, her being around

so she glides around the house

without making a sound

and she’s fed up, did you notice that?

she is so perfectly agreeable

as her antsy soul waits and waits to be born

but she wants to get lost like her smile and fading eyes

till she is no more 

gracefully, forcibly

yet unnoticeably slip away, but even in that

she would be so perfectly agreeable

blame

Frysta, 

why are you so cold?

Are you sad that your story 

has been told,

over and over to a 

world tired of listening?

 Frysta, 

why are so tired?

Did you not get enough sleep 

last night,

after you told that story the world is

so sick of hearing?

Frysta, 

why are so sick?

Are you not stronger than this?

Poor baby, suck in your bottom lip

and cry no more.

Frysta, 

it’s you that he abhors. 

Blames everything on you!

The hurt, the isolation,

the illness. 

Frysta,

why are you freezing?

You tell me it’s the meaning of your name.

But Frysta, we’re tired of listening,

we’re bored with this game.