Transit

I feel as though
Or I may have
Slipped through another portal.

My old skin discarded
Except for the scars left behind
In the shedding

This new skin, as yet,
Uncomfortable
Ill-fitting
Unyielding

Soon, as with newly-purchased garments,
We’ll sigh
Stretch
And relax into one another,
my skin and I.

But the flavor of my soul is different now:
acrid
earthy
with a bitter tang like woodsmoke.
New Me is smoke-damaged
From the fire we barely escaped
So many things left behind
To flake and crumble into ash
To fall away.

Increasingly, my house feels like a storage space
A place holder
Filled with someone else’s stuff
Flotsam and jetsam, detritus and nostalgia.

“Where is she,” they may ask
about the girl who lived here
flowers and flaxen
sweetness and sorrow
“She’s dead,” I say. “Or dying.”
I would like to lament her
but I don’t understand her
the clues aren’t enough to piece it all together

I feel as though
She packed up the things that were important to her
Picked up her suitcase
And left.
Now she’s on a flight somewhere
Between then and uncertainty
Fingers tapping restlessly on the armrests
As the great ocean wrinkles restlessly below
In a semi-dark cabin filled with humanity

Connected with none of it.

Tonight I saw a music video

Tonight I saw
A music video
From the before,
From the end…
Every life has its moments
That define,
That shape
There is a before
And there is an after
And after, everything is changed.
It takes time, but
It is also immediate.
Sometimes there is a sharpness
The cutting edge of glass
Between now
And then

Tonight I saw a music video
From the before
And also from the end
It touched a place in my heart
That hasn’t been liquid
That hasn’t been alive
That hasn’t been available
For years
My calcification sometimes crumbles
To expose these places
And I journey
Quite consciously
To revisit them.
To touch them and see
If they still hurt.
(they do)

Tonight I saw a music video
From the before
That was also the end
And I could see myself sitting
On the other side
Of then
And I wept for myself
For the deaths of innocence that followed
For my current apostasy
From all that I believed to be true.

I tell myself I am stronger now
But perhaps I’m just less flexible.
The silences are rigid
A protective hard casing
I hide behind.

Tonight I saw a music video
And it reminded me of myself.
But I am no longer her.

(Copyright © 2016 Christine Mitchell)

broken-glass

The Lack Of Sense Memory

Today I cleaned out a drawer
His drawer in the basement bathroom
Unused for two years and one month
Blew out and brushed out the dust
Threw away dental floss, toothpaste samples, expired medications
Pushed aside a hairbrush
And found
A bottle of his cologne.
Almost empty
Quite forgotten
Never his favorite,
He wore it to please me
Then left it behind.
Slowly, I lifted out the bottle
Wiped off the dust
And lifted the lid.
Sniffed
Waited

Nothing.
No flashbacks
Just nothing.
A smile spread across my face at the realization
And I resolved to buy a candle with the scent
So I can enjoy it again,
Free of associations.

Storm Front

Storm Front

Hints of danger and strength in the air
A scattering of wind chimes
Towering trees hiss harshly
Unsettled dogs talk between yards
As powerful weather systems,
Arbitrary giants,
Roll their restless shoulders above the humid earth

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 24: Let

Let

Please don’t sit across the table
And say that
You “could never let
Your husband do to you
What my ex did to me”
As though it were a thing I had approved
Endorsed
–As though the murder victim
Permits
The murderer
To select the knife.
I was not complicit in anything
Except trying to make my marriage work.
Trying to meet him halfway.
Trying to see him through a difficult time,
Hoping it was a phase that would pass.
When I found out the price
Of complaisance,
I left.
(Can you approve of me now?
But I didn’t do it for you, or for any outside observer.)
Your choices might not be the same as mine
In a particular situation –
But that does not mean
That mine were wrong
Or that I
Let
It
Happen
Through some lack of will
Or of vision
Or of self-respect.
I don’t need or want your contempt
In its mask of concern.
Keep it for yourself
For the day you realize
You’ve let something happen
To you.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 23: Tool/Weapon

Tool/Weapon

It occurs to me that I
Am afraid to hope,
Lest I get hurt.
When did I learn to fear hope?
When did hope become a knife
Too sharp for me to touch,
Too dangerous for me to trust?
When did I decide
I was too inept
Too stupid
Not worthy
Of hope?
I always thought of hope as a gift
But now I see it as a tool
That can also be used as a weapon.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 10: Uncertainty

Uncertainty

The figures on the screen
Stark
Erotic
Unbridled
Arouse only questions in me
Would I?
Could I?
Am I still capable of such response?
Am I capable, any longer, of such trust?
In the past, attempts at intimacy brought me
Betrayal
Shame
Rejection
Why on earth would I think such a thing
Within my purview now?
Now, when I am
Older
Colder
Often more reticent observer than carefree participant
Will I ever be that woman?
Could I still?
Do I want to be?
I don’t know if I envy her bravery
Or pity her trust,
Or both at once.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell