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)



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.

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.

Poetry Month, Day 25: Joy


There is joy
in the smell of warm earth
and the feel of it underfoot

There is comfort
in the press of hot sun
on my downturned head and working shoulders

There is redemption
in turning the soil
in pots that held only death

There is benediction
in the caress of cool breeze
lifting my hair from my neck

There is victory
in reclaiming a garden
neglected and forgotten during the death of my marriage

Now there will be life
Now there will be beauty
Now there will be joy


Poetry Month, Day 24: 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
–As though the murder victim
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
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 10: Uncertainty


The figures on the screen
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
Why on earth would I think such a thing
Within my purview now?
Now, when I am
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

Poetry Month, Day 9: Iceberg Hug

Iceberg Hug

My body hasn’t forgotten,
Nor has my subconscious
What it was like to be held in that spare, taut embrace
Only my heart has forgotten.

It was like embracing the tip of an iceberg
Only a little here and so much
Somewhere else –
Where his real life happened.

The nervous energy,
Never settled, never satisfied,
That exhausted while it exhilarated
I couldn’t keep up.

These things surface
In my dreams,
Postcards from a place
That no longer exists.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Postcards from a place that no longer exists

Time for a change?

Just now, I was doing one of those quiz things where you take the first three letters of your last name and the first three letters of your first name, then the street you were born on, or whatever — and I went to use the first three letters of the last name I’ve had for almost 22 years. And it felt wrong. It didn’t feel attached to me any longer. It felt like a crutch I no longer need to use.

And I used my maiden name instead, and it felt right. It felt like me. I remember who I used to be when I used this name, and I like her.

Perhaps it’s time for that name change I didn’t think I wanted… but at the time, I wanted to maintain as much of the normalcy of my life as possible. I was not ok with any sudden moves. Perhaps now I feel more solid. More secure. Perhaps it’s time for me to be that girl again.

(Plus, I almost feel like, every time I introduce myself to someone, I have to be kind of apologetic in case they know my ex and have seen his behavior. We’re so different now; I really don’t want that trail of crumbs that says, “yeah. I was there. I’m still part of that.” Because I’m not. Emphatically not. And that’s by his choice as much as mine. He and his family slid back and away like a car I passed on the highway, and I find I’m just fine with that.)

I was trying really hard to find a highway image that fit. I tried so hard. But in the end, this photo really expresses how I feel. :}