My son used to burn himself
press the lit end of a cigarette
against his bare flesh

an attempt to penetrate
the numbness –
this I know

because I did it too
walking barefoot in the snow
cutting till blood oozed

there is a pain
familiar to adolescents
that bears no explanation

a hellish limbo –
suspended between innocence
and adult expectations

unable to articulate
the wrongs endured
or separate shame

from responsibility,
an inexplicable grief
and longing…

…longing to understand
at least for a moment
the pain one dare not feel.

(Image my own)

Forest Walking

Wish I could converse –
one harmonic voice blended
in a symphony of birdsong –
but my tongue stumbles
reveals me as interloper

As much as I tread softly
over forest floor, my missteps
crackle, alert the denizens
danger is about – no imploring
can reverse the impression

Nature’s sensitivity is finely tuned
and I am urban-scented, barely
tolerated, seldom trusted –
must bear my reverence for this
sacred space more deliberately.

(Image my own)

Dialoguing With Other

I offer Rage a chair
invite a conversation

She rants about childhood
and neglect, powerlessness
in the face of abuse

And I nod and remember,
suggest she’s also feeling grief

And she talks about crying
alone, no one caring, and how
I don’t let her cry anymore

I put up walls, I agree,
and ask how I can help

Stop leaving me out, she says
touting her values, and learn
to be more assertive

She says she feels abandoned
to which I reply that feelings
and reality are not the same

The conversation tires me
we’ve been around and around
the subject before…

And then I realize, I do need her
and venture to ask for forgiveness
I’ve screwed so many things up

Admitting you’re not perfect,
she smiles, definitely helps
besides…together we make ‘me’.

(Written for VJ’s Weekly Challenge: the other side. Image my own.)

Grandma To The Rescue

September is
chilly mornings
and classroom routines,
cardigans dragged home,
and the onset of colds.

Grandma packs her bag
with activities to distract,
a soup to boost bodies
and an apple crisp
fresh from the oven.

Some days
the best education
comes snuggled under
warm blankets with
inter-generational love.

(For Ragtag Communty’s daily prompt: crisp. ¬†Grandma duty calls, be back later!)