The Nights of White and Dark

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Yellow and orange trees have given way to
so many brittle skeleton branches bowing down.

I can see my coffee breath steam out over the table,
dying near the vase of drying flowers.
Last night we had to pull on extra blankets,
because the pinprick stars danced above
in a way that relayed, Summer is gone.

So pull out your warmest overcoat and wrap your
body in scarves and gloves. The frost has come
to claim your skin. The snow will settle between
your eyelashes, the wind will spiral tight around your spine.

Prepare yourself for the nights of white and dark.
No thermometer can relate the chill that will slip
into your bones. So let it suck the marrow out, use you
up. Surrender yourself to the freeze, let it reduce you.

You will be paralyzed. You will not understand why.
Sink into the earth, beneath the icy crunch of dirt.
Death is part of life. This is only a change of season.

Cold in the Doll Bones

Last night I became a paint-eyed doll with a broken leg.
You can fix human limbs but not doll limbs,
because we are only made of porcelain, which doesn’t fuse back together.

We stood in the drunk crowd, tired, and listened.
Angel songs of passion, drugs, and God spilled into us.
I swayed against you to the melody, asking for love in the only way I know how,
fumbling for something to take my breath away with its sheer beauty.

I listened to save my life, or to give me reason not to.
We dreamed of lighting cigarettes against the persistent wind,
of driving to the coast and watching the city lights flicker like a mirage.
At least that’s what I was dreaming of. Were you?

My leg broke in place of my heart, because I needed something tangible,
and I fell hard on the concrete when life shoved me.
No hospitals or casts or prescriptions for me.
Eyes glazed over emerald and my body hardened like glass.

Perhaps You Should Consider a Pet (a poem)

Today I played hooky. I wasn’t that sick

but I was sick enough to want to stay home

Pouring cups of lemon ginseng tea with honey into my scratchy throat that feels like anaphylaxis but it’s just the common cold

I read poetry that ignited a need to spread out my thoughts before me like an inventory of all the stones I’d picked up at the beach

 

Today I sat wrapped in layers of blanket and sweatshirt and tried to feel warm

I wasn’t lonely watching the wind rip the yellow leaves off the trees outside

No, today I felt fine, sketched a map of my future on the flipside of a bill I should have paid and mailed last night

 

Today the sun came down on the roof in slices like candy

And walking made me notice the hollowness of my own bones

As if each step sent an echo through my skeleton

I wasn’t lonely but I was alone

 

Today was made for wandering sidewalks and squares

Protected from the cold in soft coats and knit hats

A good day to wander alone and ponder

My therapist’s comment that perhaps I should consider a pet

If I’m so damn lonely