is just a figment of imagination,
blended with a filament of truth.
An image in the mirror
is an illusion; a photograph,
just a pose: a juxtapose
of angles and light.
I barely recognize the woman
staring back at me.
My husband sees me
blended with our memories.
My youth in bloom
is reflected in his eyes.
My children see me
as a warm, soothing quilt
enveloping them with love
The real me,
the one I carry deep inside,
The closest place to my soul,
is in my words.
I have worn a mask for so long,
that I feel naked and vulnerable without it.
My smile was plastered on my face;
without it, my sorrow would seep
through the cracks in my skin.
My fears slinked through
my optimism and resolve.
If you look real hard,
you might see something dark
and ugly inside.
It’s not so much that I am hiding,
as it is a means of self-protection.
My insecurities are slivers
just under the surface; I might not
measure up to your expectations.
My heart has begun to mend,
but the scars are still sensitive.
My soul has flown free,
more so in the past few years,
than for my whole life.
By habit, it still wants to
tuck itself away, in safety;
the new-life smell is still scary.
Happiness is hard to trust–
it has fooled me many times.
is more difficult than hanging on.
The mask has been my security blanket.
How do I make you understand
that it isn’t you that makes me sad.
You have done all that you can,
and the more desperately you try,
the more of a burden I feel I am–
your ball and chain.
I keep you from living your life of joy,
because I can’t keep mine up to par.
I feel that I’m holding you back
from the life you have dreamt.
Don’t look at me with such pain in your eyes.
It breaks my heart that this hurts you, too.
I know my sorrow is your hell,
that you want for me to be happy and well.
Your love has been the buffer
between me and the hereafter.
It keeps me afloat, the buoy to hang on to
when I am sinking.
Just love me, hold me tight.
We’ll ride this mood
to the sunny side.
My heart sinks a little more
with every old poem I read.
I talk of truth, baring my soul.
I feel like a fraud.
How can I let go and fly,
when I’m tethered to my home?
I have allowed the ropes of fear
to entangle me, again.
It eats me up, nibbles at me daily.
I am so ashamed–I’m not a stupid woman.
I know how, what, where, when—
I just don’t know why.
Why I can’t get past the front door.
Why I can’t walk down the street by myself.
Why I have become so reclusive.
I feel safe here (in my house).
I feel protected (in my car).
I feel brave (when I’m not alone).
If you were to see me on a good day,
you would never guess
that I have this ugly secret.
I’m terrified of open spaces;
groups of people; bright lights;
I feel so exposed. Self-conscious. Petrified.
The truth is: I am agoraphobic.
I had a compulsive need
to purge my hate.
My verbal vomit
scattered across the page,
eroding the smooth facade
of my denial.
I couldn’t think of my father,
without feeling the bottomless pit
of pain and loathing.
I only saw the colours crimson and black.
Now when I think of him,
I feel dead inside–there remains
a large, gaping hole.
There’s a vast space of memory,
which I am slowly filling back up
with sunshine yellow and cerulean blue.
Layers of colour, hues of happiness,
fortify my life now.
It’s not that I have re-invented myself,
but have finally grown into who I was meant to be.
I have become unstuck.
I have found the flow of life.
I can’t erase my childhood,
but I can smudge the charcoal
of my memory.
I can blur the lines of pain and sorrow,
and leave them in the background,
highlighting happy moments.
I am bathed in the healing rays
of warmth, light and love.
I still feel her soul,
though her rusted bones
have rooted in the ground.
She made some man’s eyes sparkle with pride,
as he buffed her body to a shine
clear as glass.
He’d spend stolen moments and Saturdays,
preening and pampering–she was treated better than his women.
He could only be loyal to one.
He’d cruise along Main Street on Saturday nights,
showing off his prize, the other guys, jealous–
their old jalopies couldn’t measure up.
He’d bring his dates to the bluffs,
for make-out romps on the spring-weary back seat.
The leather held memories–a faint scent of perfume and musk.
The old gal finally gave out,
and she sat in the field–still, stoic,
until neighborhood boys smashed her windows.
Vulnerable, Mother Nature ravaged her.
First stray cats found shelter,
then mice moved in for the winter.
They don’t make cars like that anymore:
bones of steel, guts of metal.
The old dame had class.
With this photograph, her spirit