My abdominal muscles can
No longer contain my chortles
Until the grey delta of mascara and tears
Flood my face
My hands clasping my knees
For support because I am so full of air
Grateful to float without my anchors
And forget about the weight of breathing.
An ounce more
a sliver of luck
(or lack thereof):
the only forces separating us,
besides the guards
gazing suspiciously through the stagnant air
and electric gates
lurching heavily to block access
in the rusted chain-linked maze.
Inside, we taunt stiff officers
with our giggles
out of our bellies,
ricocheting off of
out-of-service vending machines.
Our hopes work as balm
on wounds inflicted by mistakes;
our smiles serve as shade
from the heat of other inmates’ glares.
We share memories to feel.
We plan the faraway future to hope.
We throw jokes to forget,
like skipping stones
dancing on the duct-taped linoleum,
our laughter bursting out defiantly
floating around the watchful tower
and beyond the crowded walls.
The Words She Wore
When she first spoke,
words were leaden with bookish facts
sandwiched with rehearsed one-liners
like a stiff, over-sized suit: It was pressed,
it was clean
but could not conceal her slouch
and anxious smile,
with pointy shoulders
and boxed silhouette
heaping years onto her youthful façade.
with practice and wheeling seasons
she continued her quest for knowledge
exploring the narratives of sages
uncovering truths from storytellers,
playing matchmaker for her
ambitious neurons, phrases, and clauses.
soon, her words became a
faded, well-worn band t-shirt
fitting her like a glove
mapping the uncharted curves, twists and turns
she always knew her mind held.
*Originally published on Virgogray Press