I share some commonalities
with their misconceptions;
(we both think) I am
naive and blind
when it comes to international news
and various accords in varying shades
of political drama.
(We both think) I am
perhaps too hopeful for my own good,
(too much a dreamer
to watch the traffic as I should).
(We both think) I have
grown up in a world which placed
blinders on me at a very young age
condemning peripheral vision
as nothing more than a passing fantasy.

I sometimes look at myself
(the same way) they look at me;
(one lone eyebrow raised high like a flag
and tight pursed lips grown pink
in the cold).
They don’t think I notice
(but they hope that I do)
and we have that in common, too.

I look at my brothers
(like they look at my kin)
and I judge them for the traits
I have known all my life.
I laugh at their expense, these
people with whom I am connected,
in desperate hopes
I can reinvent myself
(in the perceptions which dog me
as I cycle this new road).

(I know what they think of me
when they hear my voice),
these conceptions swirl around
me and kick ash in my face as I
poke the dying fire
and beg for life.
(I know what they think of me)
for I share their thoughts, they
are all the more loud against the
echoes from my soul.

Tonight
for some reason
the echoes are louder
than the rain.

Louder than the rain which
pounds against the flimsy tin roof
pounding and tunneling,
tunneling
and the darkness is getting
darker
and I’m worried about the rain about
the echoes
and the noise and suddenly tonight
for some
reason
the rain is tunneling
until the tin gives way
and I am drenched—

not in rain,
I find,
but in light. Tiny fists of
light, which sport
tiny bruises.

What are you doing? they ask,
why didn’t you let us in?

I cast my eyes down, I don’t want
them to know, I am
afraid somewhat lonely trying to
be in control of something—
of anything!—
but I don’t want them to know.
Shame is a noxious cloud
blanketing me in cold dripping
dew and I try not to shiver too loudly,
to let it get to me, get out.
I don’t want them to know,
I’d rather just shiver
quietly.

But I can’t shiver quiet
enough
now that my tin heart has
broken, I can’t hide from my soul.
The light hurts my eyes,
I’d adjusted to the darkness,
comfortable
with the shadows.
“I’m adapting to the cold,” I say.
They don’t seem to hear me,
so I repeat myself louder. I shout
at them, “I’ve adapted!” I stamp my feet and scream,
(it feels good to be so loud) I scream and holler and
the blood in my body flows backwards “I’ve adapted!” I yell “I’m adjusted” I shriek
I tear at my hair but it stays put I fashion my fingernails into claws but my skin stays put I clench my jaw (I want to explode to burst all my joints to clench so tight I expound into forever and nothingness too much light it’s too bright it hurts, I’m cold, let me shiver let me mold let me burst—)

Warm.

Blanket.

The tiny fists of light
lay a blanket
around me.
A wool one,
thick,
drying me.

It’s not about control, they say,
but perception, they say.
Perception,
you see.

I’m budding warm now too warm
to want to be cold again too still
to want to shiver, again.
(I know), I tell myself, my tiny fists of light.
(They think me naive, blind, shallow too much a dreamer
to be serious with. A hopeless cause
too arrogant to be taught. They dislike
my thoughts before I speak).

The wool blanket snuggles tighter around my shoulders
and draws my knees to my chest I breathe for the first time
in weeks.

Not about their perceptions, the light tells me.
You are what you think
they think
you are.
Only your perception
matters.

You share commonalities
with their misconceptions
but you don’t
have
to.
It’s not about
proving them wrong but telling yourself
a different
story.
About listening for
the internal knocking
and not
falling for the lie
that it’s going to hurt you.

Warm yourself more
constructively
than by shivering,
a reaction to the sort
of environment you
surround yourself with.

You adjust to the darkness
instead of looking for the
switch.

(Reality is my
perception of what is real.)

(I am in control of
my perception.)

(I am not what I think
they think
I am
I am what I think
I am;
they’ve got nothing
to do with it.)

The light smiles at me
tiny wrinkles on tiny
faces
and the wool blanket
becomes my skin
I’m warm again.

(Tell me a story, again
just one more
I promise to listen better this time
I’m learning how to breathe from you,
say you’re proud, please, do say it,
you are a thousand ants in a little train
marching alongside hoisting great logs;
plain and simple
you are stronger than you look).


The reader brings his or her own experience to the poem and creates meaning. Here is my experience.

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