In the Street

I stopped her in the middle of the street, 

“I know you don’t know me, but do you think I’ll make it? Do you think I can survive all of this?” 

She said, “honey, no one can.” 

And walked away. 

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Change

When my father started abusing me, I moved across the country. 

When my sister starting abusing me, I cut nearly all my hair off. 

When my boyfriend started abusing me, I dyed it bright pink.

Now when I look in the mirror I don’t know who is looking back at me, but I sure as hell miss my long blonde hair. 

Strangers

How can two people so different feel the same sun warming their face? How can two strangers look to the same moon? How do you and I look up at the same night sky? 

How does the ocean lick at both of our feet alike? How do the trees cast the same shadows upon our faces? How does the same air fill both pairs of lungs? 

I guess you and I aren’t such strangers after all. 

Raised by Wolves 

I called them mom and dad. They looked like all the other parents, they wore shoes and made breakfast on Sunday mornings. They got dressed and drove to work. They were just like the others. But their teeth were sharp- and their anger was always in their throat. They snapped and snarled at the slightest of sounds. 

They taught me to be strong, tears were for behind closed doors. They taught me how to be brave, fear was driven away by fists. They taught me that to trust only brought pain. They taught me how to build a wall and never break it down. They taught me how to seal myself off from anything that might hurt me. 

They taught me to survive. 

But they couldn’t teach me love, for it was never in their hearts and I never felt it. They couldn’t teach me compassion for they never knew it. They couldn’t teach me hope, or how reach for my dreams, because theirs had never led them anywhere. They couldn’t teach me joy, laughter, honesty, confidence, or how to forgive. 

They taught me how to survive, but they never taught me how to be alive. 

The mom on Mulberry

There’s a mom who gets drunk everyday. She lives on Mulberry street. I watch her as she breaks dishes in the kitchen. I watch her as she stands in the street, waiting with no expression on her face. I watch as she whispers to the birds on the telephone wire, but I can’t hear what she says. 

I live on Mulberry street, and each morning I wake to the sound of dishes crashing. 

Carousel 

I always ran to the bright white horse. The one wrapped in ribbons of red and gold, it’s saddle made of real leather. The millions of times that I rode the carousel, I never even looked at any of the other animals. It was always that horse, and by some kind of luck, it was never occupied by anyone else.

But you… you chose a different animal each time, so long as it wasn’t a horse. Lions, bears, wolves, sea horses. You ran around in circles searching for the right one, never settling until you found it. Tigers, zebras, dogs, cats, even the fish! Your eyes filled with joy as you ran around and around and around. And once you made up your mind, the chosen animal seemed to swell with pride. 

Without you the lights don’t seem to shine as bright. The animals are defeated and forbidding, yet you still linger in their eyes. I feel them watching me as I mount my white horse.