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Walking With Neruda, by Farrah Celler.
It happens I'm tired
of being a woman. As it happens,
I happen upon boutiques; and at parties
I keep to the corners,
like a crÍpe paper lamp: translucent
and gasping in search of air.
On crowded subway platforms, I press
myself away from certain penetrating stares;
while on concrete curbsides, I shudder
at the call and clack of my heels.
I'd prefer to walk in
bare feet; on
wet grass; or
through the muddy squish of
some riverbed somewhere.
I'd love to get just one day
one day free of banalities.
I happen to have tired of my lashes
and my freckles;
of my braids
and the soap infused scent
of my skin. As it happens,
I'm tired, top to bottom,
of being a woman.
At moments, I wish
I could sprint through this city
between fire escapes
upon pedestrians below.
Daggers don't really draw me,
but I'm sure
it would be sublime and beyond
to dance across gravestones,
and a thunderous sky,
until my feet begin to bleed
and reality melts away. And
if I were haunted every day
by the ghosts of those dead
whose sleep my paces
I wouldn't mind, I'm sure.
I'd dance upon them still.
And isn't it better
to be a root in the dark than
a raisin in the sun;
a dream deferred?
Isn't it better to lie in wait,
like a lion in the weeds,
eyeing its prey and readying itself,
day by day, for the ideal moment
to spring upon and seize?
My roots are twisted
with the weight of generations. But
I can't decide which evil is worse:
to grow lopsided
off course; or to become
just another log in the woodpile.
I don't want to go the way
of those who went before me;
nor steal the sun from those to come.
And for the most part, the days pass by,
each one much like the last,
just like the next. But then,
now and again,
I'm visited by the most sordid of Mondays,
or Wednesdays; and left spanked
and stomped in a crumpled pile
like a week old
half read subpar
And then, I drag myself
elbows and knees mottled
purple and blue and black
back to the Land of the Living.
Past blighted erstwhile auto shops
and into Korean groceries where
seething cats reign and
eye me with disdain;
crowded with orphaned books
and side lanes coated thick
with copper colored leaves that
seem to have fallen
all at once, as if
in accord with a suicide pact.
And I wait at bus stops that stick in my chest,
like unvoiced protests, swallowed instead;
and in post office queues that never ever end,
I grow older with each stamp licked;
each moment passed. And I live
in unspeakable fear of the day
when I'll lose my hair and my teeth.
I won't even tell of the hours I've wasted
in search of wrinkles, at the mercy of my mirror.
Which is why
I've taken to collecting stones and buttons
and magazine clippings
So I wrap myself in a web of wires
and assorted melodies;
and I pass like a hot knife
through honey buttered mornings that
dissolve all too soon
into under seasoned afternoons.
And once in a while, some lost souls
might happen to catch my gaze.
But other times, I am lost myself
in thought, and so I leave them adrift,
like expired sighs that hover and then rise,
with certain dreams in tow.
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