Autumn visits after school, rewarding unpleasantries
of our days.
I walk her home in the evening,
part to go about our separate business.
We learn in time together to be silly,
Years of unshared ruminations, pretty
flights of thought, silent ideations,
troubled dreams, become presents.
No longer in held burdens, prized secrets
tumble from our lips to hungry ears.
Bubbles of lingual manna bounce freely where
shame can’t burst, break up the party.
She knows me, what I am. She is happy,
eager, to know who I am, to befriend.
I am able to be a friend with this beautiful,
lonely child. I perceive myself differently
through this unaccustomed role, through
those magical eyes that actually shine to see me.
I know not to expect. I know, I do, that any day
could not bring her ever again. I am well
versed in understanding that there is always
so much more that could go wrong than right.
She opens windows of welcome for me to see
into her bleak experience, stalwart response to
cover stigmatic confusion, stories that haunt her
and those she tells herself to create a balance
of self-made reward. So long this solitary wait has been,
she is visibly relieved to give physical voice, enjoy
safe, embracing reflection, a place of free expression,
a confidante, acceptance.
Why does this world embrace so much vileness,
leave beautiful, sad outsiders to incremental
burial in the shame of aloneness?
This is not my world. I have no ready answer.
I too have haunted stories. For my part, I rehearse
to myself, arrange words to soften, to distance
harshness. I want to let her in gently. My gifts are
dark. They need not be delivered in a manner
too heavy to absorb.
I tell her I know I am a monster.
She does not move to stop me.
She offers clear, caring, encouragement of simple
I tell her what she lets me understand, that I am
a child, like her, making what I can of circumstance.
When the time demands, I walk her home,
return to night and murder.
It is what I do.
Now, though, I have new stories to carry for
companionship, to focus musing on a different voice.
Autumn’s stories, fresh, flowing with scent of raw emotional
blood, awake a forgotten hunger, suppressed longings
of a frightened child.
I am eternally a monster.
That doesn’t mean I can’t be more.
I can be a giggly, giddy kid happy to anticipate
time to spend with my friend.