Fractures

Etched lines still reminiscent of feathers spread

Across her back.

Deeper lines stretch

Down arms as blood seeps through

Thick flannel. Emotion trickles,

Puddles, lakes as Now melts

To radio white noise and ghosts flit in

And out of mind. Black,

Empty closet. Deep plum

Neck. Back bruised-

Cherry red. Rage.

Barn swallows Barn Swallows, catching souls

Silhouetted in its depths.

Empty. Mirror

Shatters. Fractured

Reflection stares

Back. Kaleidoscope.

Two girls.

Twenty. Are we Here or

There? Now or

Then? Bleach creeps into eyes. Perhaps

In Death, Body

Will reunite with

Soul.

I Dreamed I Had Wings

The little tug and tickle as the wind flutters your feathers.

The euphoria and lightness as strong wings beat against the air

Sending you higher, higher in the sky, until everything below is colorful paintings 

And drops of the clouds kiss your skin.

Cosmos

The sky roared in answer to the pure energy 

Flashing across its indigo skin,

Tearing holes in its flesh

So the the water pours out

Like lifeblood of the Cosmos.

Before I was born again this time….

 I died. 

“Well, looks like I died again…. Oh well. I’ll be back in a few minutes. …. I hope no one finds my body. That would be interesting to explain.”

    I sat on the steps of the police station watching as all of time swirled around me. I lost myself in the blur of images. And then I breathed again. My hoppity-skippity-jumpity heart started its rabbit-beat again. I opened my eyes to the bright blur. A few minutes more and I’d be able to see. And a few minutes after that I’d be able to walk, albeit unsteadily. Then tomorrow I’d die again…. And hope no one finds my body. 

Trappings of the Mind

I.

I am not good with words.

The syllables do not flow freely from my lips

Or fingertips.

They clamour out, 

Sticking in my throat like pollen in spring,

Stumbling over roots and stones,

Wandering, 

Lost in the trees,

Unable to see.

Twigs snap under every consonant,

Leaves crunch under every vowel,

Trapped in a forest of broken sentences

On a mountain of empty pages.

II.

Music is easier.

The notes float up from my lungs,

Along my tongue,

And past my lips,

Like smoke, twice inhaled and released,

Curling in lines and clouds,

Carrying through the air and joining the wind

In patterns of sound

As I release everything in me 

Which words cannot express.

III.

Dance is fluid.

The movements flow from my chest,

Through every inch of my body

Like rainwater

Coursing down the pavement. 

Emotion streaming out 

As the water falls through grates in the road.

The progression of steps:

Leaps,

Rolls,

And falls…

Each movement holds meaning;

Sometimes vaulting up from the ground

Like rain on metal,

Sometimes 

Carving its way through the earth in runs and turns,

Sometimes trickling to the floor.

Energy in every pause,

Every shift,

Every surge,

Like lightning 

Altering the very air around it

Till the storm stops,

And the remnants of untold memories 

Gather in puddles,

Waiting for the clouds to form again.

This Is Me

I.     The girl’s eyes sparkled with the reflection of the stars. Her little sister looked over at her, strawberry-blonde hair cascading around her shoulders as they sat out on the shingled roof. 

    “Do you know the story of the stars?” the little one asked. 

    “Tell me,” the older girl answered, meeting her little sister’s Bambi eyes.

    The little girl giggled and pointed, turning back to the midnight sky. “You see those three in a row?”

    “Yeah.”

    “That’s Orion’s belt. And those ones… those ones are his feet. And there’s his head, and his sword is there. Orion was a great warrior…” 

    The little girl continued her story, staring and pointing, sometimes glancing back at her big sister for a nod or a smile of acknowledgement. She reached the tale of Medusa before she realized her sister’s usually stormy blue eyes weren’t looking at the sky, they were fixed one her. 

    “You aren’t listening,” she whined. Then she smiled. Her sister’s eyes weren’t storms now. They shined like the clear summer sky. Those bright blue eyes turned soft as she leaned over and hugged the little girl.
    “I love you, Sophia,” she said.

    “I love you too, Lyssa.”

II.     The little girl’s eyes turned red as blood streamed from her forehead. Her tiny, five-year-old hands wiped her eyes but all that accomplished was to cover the rest of her face in crimson and mat her golden-brown hair. The steel shelf support lay on the ground by her feet, one corner the same red that now dripped from the girl’s chin onto her t-shirt. Her oldest brother stood petrified across the room. No one remembers why he was angry (it wasn’t an infrequent occurrence), but everyone remembers what happened because of it. 

    The eldest sister rushed towards the youngest and shouted for someone to get a towel. The middle one ran forward and handed the elder a dish towel as tears ran from both their eyes. 

    The mother stormed into the room as the eldest girl tried to stop the bleeding. 

    “Sophia, put Micah to bed,” she ordered the middle child. “Alyssa, get Gloria to the car.” Then she glared across at the elder boy. “We’ll deal with you later, Andrew,” she snarled.

    The children hurried to follow their orders and Sophia heard the car speed away as she sang her little brother to sleep.

III.     His eyes were hard that day, their usual turquoise brightness hidden far from sight. He wanted something, and he knew it would not be given freely.

    They sat on the floor eating poptarts and watching television — together, like everything they did back then. He commented about her being sexy. She laughed. 

    “You’re missing the best part,” she chided, gesturing at the television. She rolled her eyes, chuckled, and turned back to the show, but his eyes stayed fixed on her. 

    He reached over and slid his hand up her back, under her shirt. 

    “Griffin, what are you doing?” Her voice tremorred. He wasn’t listening.

    He flipped her onto her back on the ground. 

    “Griffin, stop.” 

    He didn’t. 

    ***

    The pencil fell from her fingers and she sprung back as she saw what she’d nearly done. She crouched near the wall, still ready to fight, terrified of what might happen if she did. Her hands shook. The pencil lay just a few feet in front of her. She darted forward and grabbed it, then threw it across the room, listening to it roll and bounce down the attic stairs. 

    A trickle of blood crept down his neck as he sat up from where she’d pinned him. She’d stopped barely short of the carotid, but it wasn’t her who’d pinned him down. It wasn’t her who’d wielded the nearby weapon, now terrifyingly far away. 

    He didn’t speak. He just stood up, walked to his desk, picked something off the upper shelf, and returned to his place sitting across from her on the floor. He set the knife in front of her.

    “Don’t pick it up,” he said.

    Her whole body shook now. Every muscle tensed, ready for a fight but not wanting one. They stayed like that for an eternity, every second fighting for control, until finally she ran from the house.

IV.     The little girl closed her eyes and hugged her legs to her chest. She didn’t bother trying the door — it only opened from the outside and she knew from many previous imprisonments that she wasn’t strong enough to break it. She covered her ears against the shouting outside and retreated into a more comfortable darkness than the one her body was trapped in. She imagined a better world than this one, a world where music brought trees to life and no human ever corrupted the beautiful peace of her garden — the simplistic innocence of a child. 

    The door swung open and banged against the wall when the shouting finally stopped. The light stung as she opened her eyes. 

    “You can come out now, Sophia,” Alyssa said. “He’s gone.”

V.     Sophia closed her eyes again, years later, but now it wasn’t to block out the world. She was Charlie now, and Charlie didn’t hide. 

    Charlie raised her arms and turned her head upward. The wind wrapped around her body and every raindrop on her skin felt like a kiss. Lightning flashed across the clouds and thunder rolled through the air. The sky’s deep indigo made the electricity all the more striking. 

    Charlie reached over and took her best friend’s hand, then her little brother’s. They laughed and danced in circles on the rooftop until water dripped from every part of them and they returned home. 

VI.     “You have beautiful eyes,” he said.

    “How so?”

    “The colors — it’s like whole worlds  are inside your eyes.”

    She chuckled. “Well, I guess that depends on your definition of ‘worlds’.”

    They both smirked.

    They lay on the roof looking at each other and the sky. The sun shone through the maple leaves above, casting starry shadows on the shingle. Wind ruffled their hair and rustled the leaves, making the stars dance on their faces and accentuating their rainbow eyes.

    “Y’know, you’re kind of beautiful, too,” she said, “Dork.”

    “I am not a dork, Bambi.” 

    He chuckled. 

She smiled.

“Beautiful,” he whispered.

“What color are they now?” she asked.

He described greens and browns and golds, spring flowers and summer leaves and dark chocolate. Then she described his: oceans and summer grass and twilight skies and bluejay’s feathers.

They lay there just staring into each other’s eyes until the stars came out.

“I love you, dork,” she whispered.

“I love you too, Bambi.”

Sight of Senses

I listened to the rustle of summer leaves as soft sunlight warmed my shoulders. The petals of apple blossoms opened, life-filled and cool, between my fingers. But I could not see them. My eyes itched as the muscles strained to focus. They grew sore struggling to unblend the colors and distinguish objects from one another. These flowers, so substantial in their soft feel and sweet smell, remained virtually invisible to me. I heard boots approaching on the damp grass but I could not see whose boots or whether they were worn by their owner. My neck prickled lightly as my feet met vibrations through the ground, signalling the ungraceful boot-wearer’s proximity. I did not turn as familiar strong arms wrapped around my waist. The warm smell of woodsmoke and a sugarhouse wafted around me despite that sugaring had long since ended that year. My muscles relaxed with this confirmation of identity, but quickly retensed. Shadowy darkness was creeping into my vision. The shadows flowed from every corner until they enveloped my sight, obliterating even the blurred masses of color. I could still hear the flutter of windblown leaves and feel the textured, cool grass underfoot; but I could no longer see the sunlit green of life. I could still smell sweet apple blossoms faintly through sugary maple, but all I saw was deep, smoky blackness. The light had been consumed. Nothingness was all that remained in my eyes. I turned and clung to the love whose arms held me. My mind raced with terror as I imagined the world crumbling like sand between my fingers, blown away by the slightest breath of air. How could I know what was truth and what was imagined if I could not see all I could sense? Panic enveloped me as I realized that this change would alter my life forever.

The Kiss

Purple flower petals scatter across snowstorms,

Gray-blue clouds skitter across the sky,

Heart stammers, skipping beats

As it struggles to devour itself;

Deep plum runs across my ribs from the last time

It succeeded.

Lungs choke on a collapsing throat.

Kiss

Death greets once again and I say

Goodbye to him

For now.

Kaleidoscope Eyes

The little, neon-yellow lights twisted and split in carnival-mirror kaleidoscopes like a Van Gogh painting in my eyes. I stumbled around the apple tree, giggling at the dancing lights. 

“Pretty bugs,” I said in a childish voice. 

The ground moved like ocean waves beneath my feet as I chased the fireflies. I fell into the grass waves. I giggled. 

“Are you sure you don’t want to lay down?” My best friend stood over me while I stared around, transfixed by the fairy lights. 

I flopped back onto the ground and sprawled out. “I am laying down.” I laughed, rolling in the grass. My head spun. Dark purple and green filled my eyes and the fairy lights disappeared. I heard boots walking towards me over the ocean-ground. 

“Charlotte?” 

I didn’t answer. He wove his fingers into mine as I curled into a ball of white-bright agony in the spinning, dark-purple world. 

“Let’s go inside.” He picked me up, still curled in on myself, and carried me inside. 

The blindness melted into blackness as molten lava filled my head, and then I remembered no more. 

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