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.

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

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 22: Conundrum

Conundrum

Am I not dancing
Because I’m in pain,
Or am I in pain
Because I’m not dancing?
These are the questions I ponder
As I feel or fear
My art
Slipping away from me.
Should I push through the pain,
The exhaustion,
The simply not wanting to?
Or should I coast gently into the sunset
Of my disability?
For the first time in over sixteen years of effort,
Just
Let
It
Win?
The thought is strangely enticing.
The soft, slow drift of un-effort
The lambent caress of no-pain
The quietly darkening days
Until everything, everything
Reaches a slow tempo and quiet
Where I can live
Gently.
Gentle is a word I crave
I hunger for gentle
As a child hungers for sweets.
Again,
I do not know if this
Is depression,
Or an acceptance of reality.
Sometimes hope is the delusion.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Obviously, I’m a couple days behind. This poem explains why. :} I’m planning to catch up, although it may be after the month is up. I’m sticking with it!!

Poetry Month, Day 21: Hungry

Hungry

As I swam through the routine of my day,
Marking time in neat, small crescents of business,
It occurred to me, possibly for the first time:

I have lived a large part of my life under the petty rule of others
I have given my power to people who either feared me, or felt nothing for me
I have sought to aid them in accomplishing their goals, while neglecting
Or even actively subverting my own.

Through this whole process, there has been
A constant self-talk
An abnegation of my feelings
Rationalizations for complicity
My own denial of self
In lockstep with theirs.

Why? Am I afraid of myself? Do I feel nothing for myself?
Or do I simply think I do not deserve –
Do not deserve
Should not want, do not need
To be successful in my own right?
In my own way?

And perhaps the reason I eat so much is because
Secretly
I feel I don’t deserve a place at the table
Among all the greedy
desperate
selfish
mean-spirited
petty
brutal
callous
sharp-elbowed
people
I’ve surrounded myself with
For most of my life.

Well.
I do deserve to be a presence in the room.
And I will try, in future,
Not to bow out
Or back down
Or step away
From the feast.
Not to apologize, not even with the placement of my arms
Or the questioning line of my cautious shoulders
For my existence.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell