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 

water

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.

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 

 

sudden

it wasn’t the look of confusion you saw in her eyes

it was the look of fear

for even the cattle know when death is coming for them

much like those hyenas at my door again

coming to torment me, even though

I left them a feast at the table

patrol about and contort their ravaged mouths

causing me to flee, much like when I run

from him when he turns savage

but this time I remain, to open the door

to his frantic moans and pained eyes

whisper to calm my heart while his brain loses control

seize him into my mending arms until his terror has passed

then kick the hyenas aside

to walk my son back to his dreams

 

stay

I don’t have long to spend with you – but we have those spirits

passing through our house again.  I feel them, he feels them.

I’d think you’d feel them if you were open to it.

I don’t need to tell you that last week was rough.  

I saw red and heard the bees in my ears –

my world went numb again, but he doesn’t care, 

and I’m left blue and scared.

I don’t have long to tell you – I’m grateful that you’re here.

you let me run out, even in the dark of night,

 when I see his pale face and hear his sighs.  

you help me ignore all the frogs as I try to drive down the street,

watch them bounce off my wheels, but I don’t stop.

I keep on going, keep on remaining

much like the shadows that play in our house,

and I’m gently reminded that those souls must be

welcomed here.  they have lived Sufferer’s torment more, 

they are tired of living in fear.

shower

you’ll never know what secret thoughts I think,

entertain; as my eyes match my fogged up

window.  catch myself against the side to

keep from falling; falling from all my damn

sobbing.  secret thoughts to make this hell end.

awful thoughts, selfish thoughts.  the banana

leaves try earnestly to shake me from my

disturbing trance.  those distant violins

try to keep me awake.  they beg me to

follow their sorrow, but they have no clue

what’s in store for my crazy tomorrows.

you’ll never know what secret thoughts I think;

dark thoughts that would make you run, make you sink.