For Want of Ayshaya, #127

For want of clothes, for want
of home and want of food,
the wild girl scratches
at the fish under glass,
scratches at the cold skin
trapped under her finger
nails, at the glass skin
trapped beneath her nails
on the brink of breaking.

The uncivilized claws
at the fish paddling
beneath the ice, able
still to breathe even though
the sun cowers behind
this one sided mirror
of a life that ensnares
each in turn, freezes us
out from frozen air.

The ice, a cork stopper
shoved into the gullet
of the lake, our ocean
of wine, she falls down drunk
at her first port of call
in the great frozen north,
under the influence
of bubbles rising up
and captured under glass.

The great northern border,
the one kept secretly
hid in her chest, melting
a truth she’s concealed,
the truth of the nature
she’s been forced to flatbed
in against her will, set
up camp in these frigid
woods, in this cold clearing.

Her parents, her foolish
parents are home, asleep
in their heated home, locked
behind doors that open
only when the voices
come quietly and knock
a well thawed forgiveness
of silly succulent
memory, old sours.

In their warm bed, parents
have no idea she’s left,
wandered out into dawn
and begun her journey,
the vagabonds lockstep
journey, sojourn through new
and ice covered homeland,
home on her block or ice,
frozen and icy pond.

White eyes, a scope into
her surroundings and name
the garden, call it Ayshaya,
a good girl who kneels
before the maple trees
and the animals within,
the animals inside
and calls them friends, secret
keepers, tender solace.

On the way over,
while the animal friends
were frolicking around
the spines of the maples,
she was fine conversing
with the milky rabbit,
the white rabbit telling
her lies both black and white
about the universe.

Rabbit, blending in with
its surroundings, colored
like the black of her voice
and well protected, fur
like a chameleon,
white to the frozen ice,
to the pain in her eyes,
speaker of the sorrowed
stories of the old school.

Fine with the grey squirrel
whose hair at last faded
from its youthful auburn
in fall, making the shift
for the winter, to where
we think, old and slow sage,
who has worked a whole life
and filled a hole with nuts
for the endless winter.

But on landing, seeing
the brilliant orange fins
and the lack of movement,
the slow, once a minute
bubbles bouncing up off
the bottom of the glass,
something gnashes in her
synapses, in the place
her brain deems right and trapped.

So she claws, gouges down
her finger nails, claws
to nubs, past nubs, to bone
and down to blood, past blood
to see what is past blood
and bone, and exits out
the other side, seeing
then how silly she’s been
with her foolish walking.

When her parents find her
wandered and crying past nine,
frozen in tears, frozen
to the ice, they carry
her home, move her back home
into the same bedroom
where the voices started
their tauntings, their laughing,
their taut incantations.

Her parents deliver
her to a sheltered place
far from lakes, far from ice,
afar from anything
slightly painful, hold her
in a carefully made
cell, call it boarding school
call her boredom nothing
more than rehab, detox,
call the calm natural.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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