Laurie says “go back.” I had to find a poem over 5 years old which meant I actually had to dig back to my ill-fated grad school days and find what I wrote my one and only semester at New College (it’s good to never throw anything out). It was surreal when I wrote it back in 2007 and became even more so when a random number generator re-ordered the lines.
Muffled noises which I know to be harmless become
the monster that lived in my closet when I was six.
A stranger’s kiss is not something to wash away, I want
a welcoming smell that I can wrap around my shoulders.
There – the smell of burning wood, photographs, clothes, and paint.
I judge my safety now by the color of the sky.
The stranger’s kiss again…salty, hot…
it tastes like bitter laughter.
I’ve gone so long today without a glass of water
and the wind is harsh, sharp, and brittle.
My brain tries to tell me this were all just steam.
When autumn comes I will wear it around me like rust –
the color of the sky.
This is not the echoes of my youth. Already it’s far more dangerous.