Baby Shells

Clinging to personas like my mother’s shirt

Just until she lets me on the sand

And I toddle over to the breathing shore

Looking for a place to put my confidence

 

Sifting through identities like pretty shells

I will always put one down and pick another

Confidence will sail away; I fall asleep

And awaken clinging to my mother’s shirt

Again

As we neared the corner, her steps slowed. I matched them until we stopped just short of the end. Street lights smeared the asphalt in a watery glow. Even now, I stood on the part of the sidewalk closest to the road, and the recognition of the habit had me shoving away memories. No. I would not be sixteen again. Not now. Not with her. It wasn’t fair.

She leaned on a lamppost, rain rolling off her leather jacket. “You know,” she said. “You actually haven’t changed at all.”

I flinched as a car blurred past in the darkness. “You don’t know how comforting it is to hear you say that.”

“Why is it comforting?” She smiled. “Were you afraid to change?”

“I’ve always been.”

“I know.”

Our shadows touched.

There was her chin on the classroom desk across from me. I wondered what was on her mind.

What was on her mind right now? I hadn’t asked her tonight. I had no right to be reminiscing about something that didn’t mean anything to her–not then, let alone anymore. There was no point and her hair still fell the way it did and her scent was the same.

We touched. Languidly, she withdrew her hand, arms folding across her chest. “I love you.”

Gently, so gently. Sleepy music faded in and out of the nearest restaurant. I edged closer to the road, knowing she still wouldn’t follow. I’m not as grown as I think I am.

“I love you too.”

Knocking (3-14-2013)

I promise I won’t die

I just need darkness, safe and solid, soundlessly engulfing all the whispers of my mind

Why can’t you seal me up indoors without a turning handle, just tonight?

I’d eat my way out soon enough with bloodied nails

And knock so gently at this world again

And stare through a tiny lens of darkness at your light, and maybe leave a letter on the wood

Tomorrow, so leave me tonight

I promise this

I’ll die if you don’t let me

I just

I just need a place to cry

That isn’t sealed inside

That isn’t shaking, turning handles, eating away with bloodied nails

At the doors I keep between us