l’oiseau

after it tempted me with its stalky teasers

showing me its many scarlet hats

I saw her camouflaged behind the leaves

dull brown hiding her ruddy brown

with her head looking down

I heard her call out a song to distract me

then watched her fly away

broke my heart she didn’t want to stay

led

brown tipped moth led the way 

past the swamp, the marsh, the murk.

away from the swarm of ink

waiting to envelop me.

it led the way past the squished 

garnet worms beneath my 

cardboard sneakers, me 

whispering sorry

past the house with the 

flamingos in their pool, 

past the party, the envy, the fools. 

brown tipped moth led the way 

and I followed, inhaling its dust 

past the chatter, the damage, the lies. 

away from this flock of fear 

and

away from thinking there

must be better than here. 

uncomfortably

I felt the friction like a cat’s tongue

hesitating to taste what’s on my finger 

cooed sweet baby words in its ear 

to get him to linger 

drove under the dopey gray clouds

so tired from the day 

and told big happy lies to myself 

begging the sunshine to stay 

choice

her skirt blowing in the wind,

next to the cliff, next to the ocean

her gnarled foot making the rocks,

the sand trickle down

flashbacks of her ballet time

her foot against the edge

and

the crows flew sideways that day

she looking out with eyes closed

wondering if tomorrow she’d be so brave

flashbacks of her walking away

creep

the demon he carried was larger than him

he was unaware but I saw it

and I was just a little girl

this man who smelled of cigars and aging skin

barely spoke, but he had all the baby dolls lined up

and I’m sure he touched them all

including me, innocent and small

this man who crept in with the shadows

when he thought I was asleep, didn’t have a clue

 I could turn into a statue and not make a peep

this man was naught, this man who was a creep.

keepsake

let my eyes stay here and play awhile

before you go away. let me marvel at how

your light shifts shape, your amber haze so

addicting. let my eyes stay here and

play awhile, before you fly right out the

door. leaving your golden smile, your aura,

your everything – helpless on the floor

waken

had a dream that I was playing the violin last night.

their scrolls were bobbing in the ice, the vapor was

freezing on the strings.

made me want to reach for my rosin,

but instead I felt your hand pulling me

out of my dream.

hear the static voices screaming, SHEILA!

cry out as the spirits jump on top of me,

causing me to fly much like her blossoms

that blew in our yard last night.

the flowers looked like paper mâché hearts,

the white and pink on them torn.

much like my far-gone heart, beaten and worn.

watched the wind make them scatter and I’m

wondering how I let myself even

care that they mattered.

 

rather

I want to tell you a story about a girl and the sea 

but no matter how I begin it 

I end up talking about him and me 

and I’m brought back to that February day

where it ended – my time spent alone with him 

and yet he cries cause he misses it 

and every harmonic makes me think of death 

how he punched until I had no breath left 

and how much energy it took to whimper the word 

STOP

I’d rather talk about how I held my breath watching

you disappear into the waves

 talk about how you plucked the ivory treasures from the floor

those endless sandy walks finding the sea glass you adore 

marvel that you really are so brave 

 instead of feeling like he’s marching me to my grave

I want to tell you a story about a girl and the sea 

but no matter how I begin it

I always end up talking about him and me