Fire-dwarfed we all sit, stand, wait, drawing along timelines scythe-eyed for news or perhaps revelation that this is all just a dream, a joke. Dust-tongued our words dry up like sand through an hour glass. All gone and past leaving only empty air. A promise cracked apart. History pour out, breaks the damn of grief and dark-vowelled words, replacing now with then as what will be already spread its roots in the tear-culled.
There is a collective misguided assumption, that we know the words. Singing like rusted taps, gargling and spluttering our way to the chorus where enthusiasm trumps experience, and pipes swell and burst so all is noise and furious revelry. The wave of it crests breaks, washes us along to the next line. As real as the misting of our breaths as we sing. The cold is not felt in the thick of it.
When you arrived as the snowdrops melted, pressed cherry blossom to my breast, told me love is like a flower in bloom, already closer to an end than the start. Pressed cherry blossom to my breast, found thorns that left their marks, already closer to an end than the start when sorrow grew from these seeds. Found thorns that left their marks, taught me how to cut out dead wood, when sorrow grew from these seeds pruning became vital to overall survival. Taught me how to cut out dead wood, told me love is like a flower in bloom, pruning became vital to overall survival when you arrived as the snowdrops melted.
So I blamed you, because it was easy, sweeter on the tongue. Didn’t have the bite of admitting I could have been wrong. I’ve just been writing up three longish poems so I felt something short and sweet was in order tonight.
One sip to poison a prince, his teeth sunk into forbidden fruit, while one-true-love stands waiting, patient, the perfect good girl all fairy-tales and smiles, alone. Drinks her own potion, steps free of skin crafted from paperbound volumes brittle with age. Breathes. Finally. Screams.
Little girls are taught that boys being boys, will torment to show their love. Big girls will claim that love makes up for bruises, broken bones and split lips. I am lucky not to have known that sort of that love. I’ve never been struck by someone claiming their heart beats for me while echoing the beating with their fists. When it happens to a man they are reduced to the weaker sex, because it’s bad enough when a woman doesn’t have the balls to leave. Without experiencing the same thing I can’t say for certain, but I’ve carried enough fear with me to understand what it is to cling to the things we know. Privileged, is a tricky word to stick when most of us hide the things dragging us down.
Good ideas never really come all at once. Your lightbulb moment is more like the switch on a kettle pinging to off when the water finally comes to a full boil. The stillness can be mistaken for suddenness, but clarity takes longer to steep.
No one explained that best before was subjective at best. Instead they suggested that you were lucky to find a man willing to settle for spoiled produce so close to the sell by date. Did it occur to you the rot might be them?
They told me you were hard to puzzle out, a riddle wrapped in a conundrum. Like an onion, I would have to peel back the layers to find what you really were beneath. In reality, your smile was so open, I walked in uninvited.
I looked up what ivy was supposed to represent, after we called the man with the poison to clear the wooden fence panel right to the root. This creeping plant, that works its way between the cracks, and closes its fist so slowly, so quietly, that you cannot see the brickwork break, it’s supposed to represent friendship. I thought about you then, how I’d failed to see how deep you’d planted yourself until the moment that you cracked me clean in half. Like ivy, you keep coming back no matter the cold or the drought, there is no prying those tendrils loose, no poison that will make this shadow of you wither. I must live with the damage you have caused. I must somehow learn how not to crumble.