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Posts Tagged ‘insecurity’

If you’d let me, I would lift you up
so you could touch the moon.
But that is a fairytale thing to say,
and you’re so practical.
I’d move a mountain for you,
though you’d laugh and insist,
“Please don’t bother, the mountain’s fine
exactly the way it is.” I’d plant you a field
of Mariposa lilies or a garden of magnolia blooms,
but you would say, “Don’t trouble yourself.
All I want is you.” But what about a meteor
shower to light up the darksome nights?
Or a macaw to brighten up the room?
Or a Martian might be nice? “A Martian?”
you’d say? “Oh come on. That’s not even
real.” So I’d offer to take you fishing
for marlin. Or maybe for a blue gill? And you
would say, “I told you already, all I want is you.”
But I’d still try to offer you something—
something sweet like a marshmallow?
Something tasty like wild mushrooms?
Something humble like marigolds?
Something weird like a marmot with a mustache?
and you’d say, “Don’t you know
you’re fine just as you are. Bring me
you with your empty hands.”
Why do I find it so daunting
to come to you just as I am?

*an M poem for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie

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Before Breakfast

I know this sounds petty,
he said, and from across
the room I walked into
his pause

there was a long corridor there,
narrow and windowless, dim
with many doors. The knobs
were grimy from dust and lack
of use. And I walked and I walked.
There were no doors I wanted
to open. And I walked.
And the doors grew larger, or
perhaps I grew smaller, smaller
until I could walk right between
the door and the floor. And the hall
stretched on

yes, I said, my voice
so small even I could
not hear it anymore.

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I bet you would never guess
how nervous I was to call you.

I bet you’d be surprised
to know the size of the gap

I imagined between us—
whole oceans could be swallowed

in there. You with your easy laugh.
You with all your friends. Surely

you have all those friends in part
because you are friendly.

But I was scared. Scared
I was not enough—

not smart enough, not cool
enough, not funny enough,

not strong enough, not self
sufficient enough to be your friend.

Oh that insecure part of me,
I know it does no good to judge her.

So I look at the insecure me,
and I look at the me

who would judge her,
and I get to look at the me

who can love her
and all of us get in the car together

and drive to your house
to drink coffee and talk

and do what friends do—
jump in the gap

and swim.

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I try to tell him
it’s a story.
That Bloody Mary
is only imaginary.
That she cannot hurt him.
Still he insists that I
go with him to the bathroom.
“Cuz Mom, that’s where she kills you,”
he says. “That’s what they told me at camp.”
I hold his hand on the way there,
then stand guard at the door.
It is sweet, in its way,
his fear. So innocent.
So pure. I try to be
this compassionate
with myself, later,
thinking you no longer love me,
telling myself, that’s just
my imagination. Though
the prick of it, the
way I deflate, it feels
so real.

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Today it’s the bread
that reminds me
how human I am—
how I want people
to like the bread
that I baked, how I hope
they can taste
the organic grain
that I ground myself
for the pleasure
of grinding it, sure,
how I can get the texture
just the way I like it,
but also for some small
way it makes me feel
as if I am a better person
because I have ground
the flour. Oh it is
so tricky, the way
I start to believe
that if the people I love
like the bread I bake
that they will like me more.
As if rye and winter wheat
have anything to do
with who I am.
But I do not despise
the bread for this. Its taste
is the taste of harvest,
sunshine and rain,
patience and earth.
The bread wants nothing
and nourishes despite.
Nor do I despise myself
for the longing to be loved.
Well, not much.
So human, I tell myself
to think we’re not enough.
Of course we’re enough,
Of course. Just as we are.
Still, I can’t help but wonder
if I made the butter, too,
well, then they might really,
really love me.

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