(after ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost)
I was a teenage atheist
Lost to Frost and a world full of words
The unease of snow falling as poetry
Sieved through me
And drained me of faith in things I couldn’t see
I screamed with the violent wind
Disbelief in a God
Who only offered questions
When I wanted statements
Maybe on the brink of silence
I longed to stop like a war widow
Who looking through her window
At the teakettle wren
Forgot for the longest minute
The potatoes to peel
Or the need to white wash the front step
Knowing it would never be blackened again
But instead I set up a rhyme to move me on
Like the horse in those friendless woods
That Frost so loved
Yet now in my middle ages
I see the import of all the silent words
An atheist still
Yet in that strange syntax of your leaving
I looked at the stars and felt the despair of heaven
We only care about the smallest things
The way your front teeth cross just slightly
Or the comfy hollow of a promise I could never keep
Some poems work every time
But not this one
So on this darkest night
I’m drawn to the lovely woods
In the hope that I may sleep
In the hope that I may sleep
Am I able to live in my age?
To let my heavy lidded life / be weighted down with glitter / rather than gruel / not worrying / if my thighs are not as smooth as river rocks /or my breasts move to the beat of their own drum / and why can’t I just affirm myself / as a writer / in a poetry workshop / without sniggering like a teen / asked to put a condom on a banana?
Am I able to stop self censoring?
To let my words out / not caring if they are deemed delightsome / there are surely enough out there / wanting to shut me up / writing rejections / with / not a fit for us at this moment / and why can’t I let go of the dangling hope / I might be more acceptable / on a different date / at a different time?
Am I able to be on my own?
To let go of the people / and ghosts / crowding my shoulder / yet I know / like any weaver / that tension is needed for creation / so maybe I’ll can my words / let them condense like milk / so they are sweet / and glossy / and / why can’t I hold on to one of my ghosts / my Welsh fire talking mother / and burn everything else down?
the blue spiraled slowly passed // she could neither float or swim // and she fought the blessed grace of drowning in its umbral hug // instead she idled // starched and distorted //
friends tried to trap her in the silvery weeds // they swayed together in an abstract ballet // of disintegrating parts // whilst the unseeing lot whooped // sit down //
to save her self she’d always lived her life in pieces // tucking away the sprawl // winding it around her neck // slathering it with crepe erase // and stuffing it into nude shape wear //
but in the end // she flaked off all her paint // leaving as quietly as a sigh // and it was cold enough to see the bird song // and my howl // left on air //