Shadowland

The shadows dropped from my dreams
To lurk in the bowels of my bedroom–the black gap
By the closet door and the murky well
Beneath my desk–where they know I won’t want to look.
I will (to know the face of my fear).
I won’t (I’m still afraid of the dark).
The moon marches to my rescue and clears
A path across the shadowland, but even he stops short
Before the inky mess inside my closet and we
Are both left wondering.
Coldness scratches across my chest
And my fingers fumble for my flashlight,
Until panic pushes it to clatter down the bunk bed
Ladder, landing far, far below on the floor
Where only little sister–from where she lies
On the bed below mine–can reach up
And hand me the light again.
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There’s More to a Book

The bones of the
story of Beauty and Beast
are deception and danger:
he hardly kept peace
as he circled his castle
with claws and with rage
and Beauty was trapped
in the walls of his cage.

 

But she read and she listened
and watched and she kept
busy, earned freedom,
then got up and left–
returning to life
she had left in the city
where people were groomed
and where things were more pretty.

 

But remembering Beast
all alone in his lair
she packed her things up
and she traveled back there.
For she’d seen his true being
and realized she cared;
she’d grown from the girl
the Beast had once scared.

 

She followed this reasoning
to see past his looks:
for the cover’s important
but there’s more to a book.
See, a person’s a person
no matter how scary,
no matter how grumpy,
no matter how hairy.

Leaving Time

“It is very, very difficult to be the one who has to stay behind and live without them.”
–Fredrik Backman

 

No one sets out
to say life is a race
but things start a’moving
with dangerous pace

 

and as soon as I feel
I’m alone and bereft
I can see it is better
to leave than be left.

Conversations

while we say we are
the land of the free
and the home of the brave
i think we have forgotten
those knocking at the door
to be our neighbors, too

 

This poem was inspired by stories of immigrants and the current border conditions, as well as the journey of a friend and his family who have waited for citizenship, and waited…and are still waiting.

Breakdancing Basics

We had flocked to beginning breakdancing and
then flopped on the couch: sweat-spoiled,
sore from squats, spins and headstands that didn’t happen,
wincing as we walked with lactic-acid legs
and the reality that we knew negative nothing.
My feet fumbled the steps on a path I could not see,
and it’s not that I don’t think I was meant to be a breakdancer,
I know it. My limbs know it. My fear knows it.
Those four weeks–stretching longer and shorter than eternity can explain–
ended as mom and I slumped in the family minivan
on the drive home, hair slipping from our ponytails,
our laughter floating out the car windows.

Remember

I originally wrote this poem (“Just Remember”) for friends who graduated last year, but on the year of my own graduation (!!!) I looked at it again and wanted to share the new version. I am grateful for everyone in my life, and wanted to thank you for supporting me. Remember that in whatever season of change looms ahead, you will be loved and missed. 

 

When you feel some friendships fade
As curtains close upon this scene,
The dark can start to slither in–
A force that’s fierce and mean.

 

If your world begins to darken
And the light grows hard to hold,
I tell you, think upon this truth:
Some bonds are made of gold.

 

While the distance might grow long
If you move miles out of reach,
You must remember that you’re treasured
With a love that’s tough to teach.

 

And don’t you ever fear forgotten,
For you simply can’t be lost.
Though some things fade and some things fail,
Some friendships won’t be tossed.

 

I won’t pretty it up, my friend–
Life is complex and full of twists.
But don’t deceive your honest heart:
You will be loved and missed.