Posts Tagged ‘shame’

meeting shame in a back alley

I decide to rename it

good teacher

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No, this time Shame suggests

you take the driver’s seat,

and though you’re nervous at first,

it’s so fun—your hands

on the wheel, your foot

heavy with bliss—you split

the scene so fast

that Shame begs you to pull over,

leaps from the car, then tries

to hitch a ride home.

Meanwhile you speed

toward the sunrise as it

crooks its long pink fingers

at you, tugging on the hood,

making the whole world

blush. Yeah, you think,

it’s nice this way.

Out the window, the birds

are just beginning to sing.


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In the Maze Again

It’s not shame itself we want to lose

but the shame about our shame.

Shame itself is as innocent

as bliss or love or joy, only

we seldom want it to linger.

A woman walks through rows of corn

and knows her own shadow.

She does not lament its shape,

but uses it to guide her.

There is teacher in everything,

even the corn dried on the stalk. Even

the wanting to push shame away.

Even the arm that rises up

to embrace our own shadow,

impossible as it is.

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Dressed in a hat I knit him, shame
invites himself on my morning walk.
I do not attempt to ditch him.

Don’t exactly encourage him
to stroll along, either.
He is limping. He catches

me noticing, reminds me
that I kicked him in the shins. I don’t remind him
it was an accident. He had tripped me.

“I’m sure you didn’t mean to,” he says,
reading my mind as he always does.
He curls his hand around my shoulders.

Pulls me closer. Says, “You know I’m
the only one who will always be with you.
I’m the only one who really knows you.”

Now I do pick up the pace.
“You can’t outrun me, doll,” he says.
He knows I hate it when he calls me doll.

I stumble on a patch of ice and start to fall.
He hustles to catch me before I hit
the ground. I can’t help but notice

the limp is gone. Part of me wishes
he’d let me fall. I don’t want him around.
But the other part surrenders

as he holds me in his strong, familiar arms.
“Doesn’t it feel good,” he says. “You know
you want it, doll.”

I sputter, “Don’t …” and he kisses me
long and slow. I can taste the curl
in his lips. Shit. He knows how

I love it when he does that little
kissy hum, and he does it, and then
he lets me fall.

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I am not fit to tend that garden yet.
Though I walk by it every day. Though it
is on my property. Though there’s a thriving
patch of shoulds sprung up around the fence.

The gate is twined in bindweed, green and dense.
The rows are long-since overgrown with grass,
oregano gone viral, clover, spears
of mullein, dandelion rosettes. I’ve grown

familiar with neglect, at times forget
it’s mine to cultivate. But there it is.
Last week, I stepped inside the disarray,
took one long look at shamed disorder, tried

to see a place to start, and quickly left.
I am not ready for that garden yet.

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