chill breezes and midnight satin
reflecting warm light;
i walked along the edges,
feeling them out with bare dirty feet
(searching for weak spots to find an excuse for my own);
your arms beckoned in their green sleeves,
so welcoming,
but i did not slip into your embrace. i was afraid.

damp wood and dead leaves,
staind songs and stained lips–
i walked round your legs
and stood near your hips, wide mother.

you were big enough to take me in
and i wanted to go, because i’m tired
and you know it.
but i was afraid to lay down.

strength looks like this:
standing on one’s toughened soles,
staring down into your eyes
and walking away–
but that is not me.

i look like this:
standing on my toughened soles,
stepping down until i could almost kiss your lips–
acutely aware of the smell of your perfume,
the shape of your comfort, and walking away
not because my will is strong,

but because i am as terrified to fall asleep in your arms
and find myself waking up again
as i am to stay awake.


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