Acutely unaware of what was going
on around her and inside of her she sat, stoutly,
writing words one by one to sooth herself, to make
time pass a little faster or a little less fast.
The thoughts that spun around and around in her head,
clouding her brain, making one day become the same day as the next,
the same day as the last,
might someday change her life into something more or better than what it was.
Or so she liked to hope because it was easier than to act.
Always holding herself back so as not to rock the boat too far,
to keep life simpler than it might be if the boat flipped over
and the oars fell out.
But secretly, deep inside and every day,
she hoped a giant wave would come along to sweep her under
and let her change
into something special
into something truly free.
And so she sat with a head full of thoughts
and a mouth full of broken glass and ash.
Not saying anything, really, only knowing
that something inside was burning and slowly
it would come to light
or else flash into a raging fire.
Here is the place where words do no good.
Here is the place where understanding is completely internal.
Meaningless phrases, brash and untrue,
could fly like polymorphic insects
out from the space between her parted lips.
A person can lie to themselves too
and all day long and everyday,
but she could not lie to herself,
knowing the way things were and always would be,
knowing even more fully how they should have been.
Love can set you free
but the heart caged her in.
The key had been lost
and nothing to cut through the walls and bars
can be found any more in this unkind world.
Despite her longing to keep love as a token,
her mind is forever and inextricably broken.
There’s no use in wishing it were otherwise.
And so the tears she cried fell one by one
onto her unforgiving heart’s home:
half on her chest, half on the pages.
There were so many pages of sad things as true things tend to be.
And any other day from the distant past might have been
better than today, than the future.
She could not know what the future would hold,
but she most certainly knew what it wouldn’t.
So she had to let her mind stay frozen, only
recalling days before that terrible choice was chosen.
Logic, her eternal companion,
told her to let it go, to warm herself
in the light she might see if she just kept going.
But time, the enemy of all men,
had shown her that brilliant beckoning light
was just a train, screaming down the tracks,
coming to crush her.
It was no friend, it was no lover.
Here in the cold and darkness was her hope, her lie.
She could not live there forever
and yet the past she longed for,
which would one day kill her,
would at least let her be blind.
She laid still as he dressed and walked out.
They had done their respective duties,
they could do as they please now.
Life would go on this way till it ended.
He hated her, that she was his life now,
but slightly less than he hated change.
Life was easier with her in it,
or at the very least familiar.
There would be no more surprises,
no more the thrill of the hunting, the chasing.
The prize had been caught.
It matters not at all how much less it was now that he possessed it.
She belonged to him.
She would serve her purpose, he would see to that.
Outside it is cold.
Snow is falling.
It was winter and in it was the death of another year.
When spring came, maybe it would be time for something else:
to see his tattered prize in a new light
or else to begin again entirely.
He was not so cruel, he thought,
as to turn her out at such a desolate, bleak time as this.
No, but come spring she would be unfettered.
As she lay there, motionless after such a prestigious struggle,
she thought of nothing more than the cold
and the crunching of snow under unshackled feet.
Wistfully, she thought about the colors mixing together,
mingling together without effort or distrust.
The yellows, blues, pinks and greens, they were happy colors.
On the canvas they looked back at her and she was sad.
She saw the grey tones in them.
It was a part of them, every one, even the pure white where it showed through.
Even it was not clean, not happy.
THIS IS YOUR LIFE NOW, NOT YOURS ALONE, BUT THAT OF EVERY BEING.
In the old days, before he was gone, she saw only colors, only good.
Now the darkness stared back at her boldly.
She turned away to look out the window,
looking up to make the tears
roll back into waiting eyes too wet to accept any more.
They rolled straight down from the corners, instead of across her cheeks.
Out the window she saw the tops of trees with no leaves,
stark against a deep blue evening.
They looked cold she thought.
She could almost cloth them, once again, with leaves,
in her mind at least, but not fully: she couldn’t concentrate.
Instead she thought of him, the inescapable companion,
standing high above her in those barren trees.
He was watching her.
He was protecting her.
She could see him.
She knew his thoughts weren’t too prejudiced.
He wanted her for himself as he always had.
That reasoning, which caused him to keep away for so long a time was gone.
He no longer blamed her.
He knew her true heart now,
not the petty lies she threw at him in the past.
As she watched his precious face out of red rimmed eyes,
she knew she would finally do what she had promised when he had gone.
It wouldn’t be long till she too would perch in the branches of trees.
She was tired of searching for things that weren’t there.
It didn’t matter how much she longed to find them,
they would never be found again.
They were lost to this world.
Around her, its constant pressure pushing in on her,
was a alien place.
She did not know it anymore.
On a whim, she looked into a mirror and saw no one in it she knew.
She had spent so much time inside her mind that
her own face was unfamiliar.
Time had changed things.
Her eyes were gone.
No longer brown, dark and inviting,
the new ones that had manifested were lighter
rimmed at the edges with black.
They were cold eyes.
The external ones were not the only changes.
Her mind too was different.
It raced all day in memory or in fantasy,
stopping at night more quickly than it ever had before.
She was exhausted by the search.
She wondered to herself if she could even be recognized now.
All the pains she took to cancel out the fear, the concern of those around her,
had taken it’s toll.
She thought of the frozen ground.
The girl he loved lies beside of him and rots.
Or else somewhere out in the dark night
two mists danced together in the winds,
shaking the leaves,
cooling the sun’s heat on distant faces.
She felt the freezing rain drip from her dark hair
onto the pale skin below it.
The cold wet body thrilled at the feeling.
She felt alive just then,
when for so long a time now
that minutia had left her.
She hadn’t even realized it was missing till it came back to her,
one small piece today, and she could feel herself remember.
She felt relief and hatred in the same breath.
She believed a thing like her should never be allowed peace.
How long ago had it been?
She couldn’t tell, but the calender pages showed only a few months.
It could have been yesterday, she thought.
It could have never been.
Time was tricky and her mind was no use to her in this.
It joined on the side of time, teasing her with brutal thoughts.
It gave her no rest.
Had she ever seen his face?
Had she ever heard his voice?
Had she ever tasted his lips on hers?
Without him here now, how could she prove he had ever been real?
How could she ever know if she had touched this man
or if she had imagined all of this love,
Somewhere, out in the storm, the winds roar calling her name.
She thought about how strongly she wanted to answer them.
Little pieces kept slipping away,
falling out of her grasp,
through her mind’s frantic fingers.
He disappeared little by little every time
she thought of him, at least every other second of the day.
His traits had become muddled.
His voice had been lost.
She questioned her sanity.
How could someone she had loved so ardently disappear,
dissolve so quickly from her memory?
Had she ever really loved him?
And she knew the answer to that
better than anyone knew anything.
She knew that pieces of herself were gone too
or else altered if they had survived at all.
She could feel the space where her heart used to be.
Her hands did things of their own accord,
going through the motions of her life for her,
without any help from her at all.
Her foreign eyes trembled,
filled with tears,
repeated the cycle.
She had not belonged to herself after the day she saw him,
not the first time, not that transient, lying, simpering feeling.
But she saw herself as his when she had seen herself in his eyes.
She had never thought it possible.
Every sight she had every seen made it seem that way.
But he was a man, the only person she had ever known like it,
who loved her without a reason.
There was no outside cause,
nothing to gain,
no familial tie to her.
He simply loved her because she was her.
And she began to realize that the pieces of herself
she had thought to be gone
were still there.
They had not left with him.
She knew then that she was invisible,
her entire being.
With him gone, even she could not see herself anymore.
She had thought she had seen something,
but she couldn’t tell anymore.
Her weary eyes might have lied.
This constant search had broken her.
It was not fair; it was not right.
But she kept looking for this thing, these things that she knew
would probably never be found again.
The wild thing that once belonged to her had been let go.
Now it would eternally elude her grasp.
But she was persistent.
She was stubborn.
This was the white whale in her life,
always evading, slipping away,
one day to kill her,
but how could she stop?
She would give up everything to go back
to when logic and what she thought
was right persuaded her to let go.
She hadn’t done it the right way.
In freeing it, she broke it.
She had never seen it struggle through the forest alone,
but she found it dead and covered it over with dirt and regret.
That was her fault and hers alone.
But now there was no way for her to trust logic or right ever again,
because they were the reason she had loosened her grip.
They failed her then and she would fail them from that point on.
There was no going back.
So she kept up the vigilant seeking of the thing,
knowing full well where it lay.
She would not see its movement ever again,
but there had to be something like it somewhere,
akin to what it was.
If she found it, then she could feel again.
Then she could live again.
But so rare a thing is hard to find.
She gets desperate.
She gets cold and alone surrounded by warmth and companions.
And none of this brings her heart to the point of beating again.
So she searches.
And she sees traits sometimes, but she gets tired
of the hot, cold, hot, cold.
The dead thing had never made her feel that way.
Yet perhaps it had at first,
before it made its mind up…
This fickle thing she’s become aware of is still deciding,
but her eyes are growing tired and her heart is too.
Perhaps this one is an indecisive thing
from the same species,
clothed in a different color.