A child skipped below an umbrella,
the joy of youth insulated beneath
an innocent weapon
fighting back an inclement future.
Inspired, though not inspiring,
I longed for such a battering ram
to bludgeon the plaintive
skeptic buried beneath the years.
I tinkered with my cynicism, flirting
with the optimism of youth, hoping
I might change
or at least feint near —
Instead, though, I creep back to sleep.
I lack the energy for that particular battle.
The clock prefers
a polite tree,
ring with each
for the trouble.
The corridor reads
all mundane nameplates,
unspooled before it
The flame pretends
it cares, ice
When she awoke – truly and deeply
woke from the sleep induced by testosterone,
drugged with masculinity, weighed down
by society’s down comforter – she looked
to the future as her own. Liberated,
she was called many names. Her favorite dirty
word was feminist, though she would be called
much worse. The word that stuck was independent,
married as it was to happiness, sealed with a kiss,
they lived happily ever after.
He said he no longer wished
to be an astronaut because he didn’t want to leave
me. Sitting on the bathroom floor, waiting
for him – dreaming of space
form whom the past is “today” and the future is
“tomorrow” – to wrap up and climb
down, I watched as time melted,
reminded that he will leave – of course
he’ll leave – either for the moon or college or
a girl or some other thing I’m going to hate
but for now
there is no other time for me
than sitting on the bathroom floor, waiting
for him, my binary star.
With all the authority of a mime sprinting to a parking meter
he exclaimed, “Two-ply is the greatest invention in human history!”
We didn’t know how to respond
but in thinking about it,
as one does, presented with a truth universally expounded even from
seated outside the cafe while the sun
reared fluffy clouds skyward, and concluded for
human rumps do prefer two-ply.
I don’t bother with the news
on television, where heads talk over
each other, no one listening nor
changing minds. A platform for despicable people
to “both sides” an issue, even
those where merit, truth, meaning dissolve
into deafening static, noise for its own sake.
I thought this would have changed
after 2016, this desire
to give equal time to unequal opinions, equal
time to lies.
So many other things have devolved
unequivocally. This morning a government official
said on camera the Statue of Liberty, a monument
who welcomes immigrants to the American Dream
should only invite
people who can stand on their own
two feet. My ancestors invaded before
her flame was lit, conquerors but white. Of course
that matters, giving rise to, supporting, and benefiting
from a system designed to burn, a fire warming some,
destroying others. From the ashes, civilization
more equal, but tilted still, for some.
Perhaps rather than change we have reached the end,
brought now through years of complacency
or compliance, distracting us as we change
Jittery and uneasy, I struggle
through the dread
disquietude, keeping me
too often, frozen in apprehension
shaking – eager
– to move.
A gentle breeze washes
stirring a voice
that is not mine,
I close the window.
Tempestuous and tempered, raging
among the heavens but eager to descend,
the endless wrath of another storm
hurries us into the shadows.
Hidden from the blustering call while
a squall stumbling for purpose blots out light
with each blast, blindly seeking
a companion, we huddle, hopeful
the humidity will swim away as
we continue to perspire, hesitant
to head out into the gale, uncertain,
but wet one way or another.
The world has turned and left me spinning
time is thinning
and I am alive. I long to live
in the clouds, my mind
a head of me
among the billowing blanket of puffy cumulus,
a misty mystic world, delicate and wet
hinting at gray but not turning,
only pulpy white.
But mostly the soft outline of anticipation
traces my thoughts
not among the clouds but
thin whisps of moonlight spin
a web in windows obscuring – or
delaying – the world
where I go round.
Viewed through a keyhole, a speedboat
provides the escape we’ve been looking for,
churning along the waves,
engine chewing water,
consuming miles in the offing, leaving only this
view through a keyhole, a speedboat
– eyes growing smaller
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