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.

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Hope

There is still part of my heart that hopes
Let it hope, I think, sitting between cynicism and pragmatism.
We all need hope to get us through;
And maybe this hope
Is not unwarranted
Is not hopeless
Is not destined to fail.

Unencumbered by hope, I could be free and light
To rise and fly
Like a bird
Like a leaf
Like a cloud
But equally, I might also sink
Entombed in ice like dirty water
Death within death.

So let it shelter, somewhere between my breastbone and my shoulder blade
In the small house where the future lives
Perhaps
Perhaps
Perhaps

Only time will tell
If that doorway remains empty, more a promise
Than a portal.
However, even if no-one comes through it but my courage
My indomitable will
My recklessly beating heart
Not twinned but lone
That is enough.

It will have to be
Enough.

 

Copyright ©2016 Christine Mitchell

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.

Throwback

It’s interesting
Not having seen myself through the eyes of dismissal in a while
Rediscovering the faux-concerned face
The wince of denial
The condescending voice and syrupy tone that assured me:
“No, you can’t. You couldn’t possibly. You’re just
Not
Capable.”
Recently, I watched that happen
Recognized it for what it was – a smackdown –
Laughed inside
And denied *them* that power
By saying softly,
“Well.
Watch me.”

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Not A Tributary

There are times in life
Doorways
Or portals
When life changes
When the unthinkable
Becomes thinkable
Then understandable
And even palatable
When we discover grace
In the face of change
As I linger in bed this morning
I am considering the many portals
That I strode through
Or tripped through
Or was pushed through
Unknowing and alone
And I hope that now, in this phase of my journey
I can see the signposts when I pass them
And can align myself to travel through them
Squarely
Eyes ahead
Arms and legs tucked in
To avoid bumping the doorjamb
Fluid
Streamlined
Jettisoning baggage as I go
Once again, I am not aligned with others on the path
Once again, I am not feeling the same emotions they are
Once again, I feel that I am at a different event, hearing different music
And I have a new thought: that I am my own fish
Swimming in my own stream.
Perhaps it’s ok that my stream doesn’t join the ocean.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 26: Interstices

Interstices

How many times have I filled in the blanks
Supplied the responses
Created the conversations
That I needed to have with people
When I lacked the courage
Or will
Or opportunity
To have that conversation properly?
And how many decisions have I made,
Based on impressions formed
In the vacuum
Of my own fears?
How much of my life’s “solid” framework
Is built on shifting suppositions and guesses?