I lost you as a game of chess
waged on a battlefield
square patches of dark and light.
In the end they blurred to gray mist.
Oh chess, my downfall!
Where any game safely played
is never won.
You, my Queen,
I surrounded with pawns
unwilling to test our limitations.
I didn’t want to know them.
You would not be risked,
not even for victory.
Never underestimate the comfort
of untried possibility.
But now, having lost so
I have come to think it would have been better
losing you in a sudden stab at glory!
Can I wonder with you?
You fashioned my mind,
pulse with curiosity,
question the answers,
when I wonder I ask
not looking to know
but just wanting to journey with
another curious mind who
doesn’t have the answer.
A mind as limited as mine.
And that’s not you
Can I wonder with you?
Your answer that unchanging Yes,
but mine is No
because I don’t know how.
There is a place for everyone
where you can breathe your fill,
sit in peaceful silence until
the demands of the world call you back again.
A place where you are utterly alone
but not lonely- an escape of only
minutes and seconds counting down.
Mine is found in the smallest of rooms:
the unaffected space of my closet.
For when I was young, my closet
had a treasure chest inside it,
holding my most valued things.
Then older, my closet
gave space to my solace.
I closed all the doors
on my way to just being.
But now, my closet
is where I undress.
Peel away the
hiding rags like
til I’m bare.
Just me, as I am.
No more, and no less.
There’s no hiding in a closet.
Eight feet by eight
the borders and corners
Silent and still
this truth-full reflection
only feels safe
as my sole companion.
Life doesn’t thrive in darkness
which is maybe why you feel dead.
Dark eyes in a dark room doing dark deeds.
The only light, a computer screen.
Dirty mattress on the floor,
bars over windows, locks on doors.
You wait to be seen.
Led down a staircase, tripping
over a shoelace you are
too young to tie.
You brace to meet the face
of your next admirer, knowing
it’s no use to cry.
His erected affection leaves no
room for objection.
This is subjection of the basest kind.
How to breathe? How to swallow this
air of dirt and sweat and fear?
So you close your eyes, remember:
A time where no shadows blocked the sun.
When you ran and sang, and what was that word?
Fun? Brothers, friends, mama, hens…
flash through your days of old, and then
it is over. He’s done. A tear falls, he runs.
You close your eyes, whisper:
Children as young as one have been rescued from homes where they have been sexually abused as customers from all over the world direct and watch. See how the International Justice Mission is fighting cybersex trafficking, and how you can help.
Because free people free people.
I still think of you when I taste
the tart of a fresh raspberry.
Imagine it covered in cream and sugar
until it’s so sweet you could drink it.
You left memories with all of my senses
So that I can close my eyes
and remember you with my whole body.
Tight smooth skin when I reach
the shine atop your head,
the unassuming blue
of kind eyes,
Or nuzzling in the crook
of your neck, breathing in
sweet tobacco and sweat, the
ripeness of a day’s labor.
And with my head against your chest,
the beating of a pacemaker
tapping the tune to your song
as you rock me slowly to sleep
singing “bye oh bye oh baby bye oh
bye oh bye oh baby bye”
I grow taller as you bend over
under the weight of ninety-four years.
The last time I see you, you’ve traded
your overalls for a black suit.
There are potholes in your skull
breaking smooth lines.
Your blue kindness hidden
behind closed lids.
Tobacco and sweat erased by
formaldehyde, and in the silence
I strain to hear your song, but it’s gone.
Because you’re gone.
So I repeat our last conversation,
where you told me good-bye, with a smile
I asked if you were scared, no
ready, yes oh yes, so tired
So I pretend you lay your head in my lap
and I rock slowly,
sing you to sleep.