• Lena Drake

40 years a woman

When she learned

she grew less

with life but swelled

with stress.


When they heard

they sent gifts

in boxes too

big to fit

what she'd never

create, a life

without shape.

She’s thinner now

like each year has

feasted on her fear

left her insides

dry and hollowed

out her pride.

She marks the day

with a slash, the

doorpost left with

gashes just higher

than the last,

an effort to

remember

the past.


If she closes her

eyes tight, blood

soaking through

her sight, she

might make out

a cry in the

night. A voice

that could pass

for a helpless

hopeful gasp.

The voice

of a body about

the right size.

As if her

body was strong enough

strong

enough

younger

younger, stronger body, younger

body

was strong

As if her

body

was

enough.


She melts between

boundaries of now

and then. Remembering

so she might create

again. Part woman,

part fury, she won't

accept their gifts.

They ask her to

move, all she does

is drift. Shut out

and shut in, how

does a ghost begin?


They stop asking

stop giving stop

looking because


they're scared they'll find themselves in the blacks of her eyes.

They thought she'd

be okay, they

thought she was

strong.

Not

Strong

Enough

Young

Enough

Body

Not

Enough

They wonder what

it takes to go

insane. As though

time had compassion

as though they never

had a mother.




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