hand-me-down exoskeleton

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she envies their
hard shells. no their

mouths the word
as if

by virtue of its' saying
she would
grow one of her own...

head cocked
to the angle of 5:25 as
caterpillar ringlets
snake from a cigarette
lit more so for companionship
than addiction

she sits on her stoop
contemplating the world
from the bottom step tonight
because that
suits her mood…
closer to the only concrete she has
come to know

feet stomp
to keep the roaches at bay

"silly creatures"

she laughs
as they scatter
she envies their hard shells
mouths the word
as if by virtue of its' saying
she would
grow one of her own

spoke about it to her kids today
in their
science lesson
forgot to tell them
not only arthropods need protection like that

"Mr. Hughes, look at them raisins they're raisin'!"

her heart, heavy.
her head,
filled with all their dreams
back-up copies she keeps
should they forget to save them
like she
forgot to save her own

like she
became accustomed to swamp water
forgot she was queen
and rewrote the definition
of contentment.
turned love into a knife
that stabbed her
late each night in spaces dark enough
so they wouldn't see her tears

different blades
always the same wound
eating at her until
she could no longer find
in mirrored reflections
of a lost little girl
another bloated body
in ol' man river
but she

"must keep rollin'
she can't stop rollin'

i look at her and cry
fat alligator tears
streaking the pages of memory
until paint
from canvas
wondering if
the ends justified the means
of my
affirming to myself that
my king and i
we will not raise some
lose herself
thinks she's nothing
affirming to the world that
when we fill it with life
she will shine
from her own light
that no darkness can hide

no, my daughter will not be
forced to repeat the same cycle
broken dreams
broken hearts
fractured sense of self
she will need not
pull herself from the claws of
kicked to the bottom just so she can
learn to see the light
i performed my penance
in tears
pinned memories to mile markers
stretching down interstate 10
paid it forward so that
she will start with a balance to draw upon


what good is the journey
if lessons learned
are not passed on

1 Responses to “hand-me-down exoskeleton”

  1. Blogger Peter 

    Deeply moving...

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