Sting

All the bone chalk clouds I’ve ever seen, so far
to reach, untouched; all the sad stories
not mine to soothe, all the times in trouble
and guilty, all the breaths stolen
by lost first times and songs that haunt; all the grasping
for nothing, the clinging to familiar faces and not quite
homes; all that lies and lives
spread at my small feet, stretching out of bounds so far I can
only know it’s there; all the rocking back and forth,
all the screaming that tore
at my throat; all of the monsters in my bed, the ghosts moaning
inside my head; all the shaking and not knowing, the breaking and still holding:
all the mean words stung
harsher than the late summer hornet
I had feared, that surprised me one night
in a backseat darkness, aching hot on my thigh
like fallen embers worn by stone. 

Alive

The sky’s a mix of clouded white and blue,
the neighbors are inside or gone to work,
and the sun shining through the blinds slides onto my hand
up to the wrist, and I sit, alive. Something stirs
inside me like drums calling a piper close behind
and all their song reaching for hands
and feet to dance, to run without looking, child’s play:
can it be, can this be joy, must joy be
the smile you cannot hold back, or can it
be the hidden smile that goes back ages to a time inside
another time, a day on a land not home
but where you belong, a smile you’ll never forget
but cannot remember, a smile that did not smile

but stood tall and stared straight and felt strong,
for I, too, know that to feel strong is to be strong
and to be free is to be timeless and to be happy
is to see the moment from deep inside, to find
a joy, a smile, a hand, a dance, a song
that lives far away and here, that stirs you
but lets you remain, but wants you to remain. 

Being Brave

I am the old woman, the prophet, the dead
father, come with the letter, the owl, the raven
call to magic and the mystery of action – it being
so present, so enraptured, transfixed – a
destiny, a path glowing your meaning, but
you know already what comes in this note.
In this call – hush – sounds of danger and defeat
lurk. But there are no dragons, no monsters;
I ride no silver mare nor fly by the fringe
of a rug, and I surely know the only magic
is the one fevered marble’s masterpiece, and
our little part, like a bit of sea glass, blue
and broken, but that’s the point of being
a little found piece, reborn of the green
planet, in the midst of a perfect puzzle
undone: I am the ghost warning you away,
scared myself, convincing you to stay. 

Autonomy

How many hours wasted rooting
for the minute hand instead of myself.
Been treading water for what feels like years.
There’s a comfort in the way the world quiets
underneath the liquid line, muffled like
or whistling, and the water my temperature.
Welcome. Clocks only serve as reminders
that we’re late or that we have to wait.
The airy edge, a death, hiding sacred
secrets of the falling and the phoenix,
pushes so slightly, presenting a challenge,
a raised eyebrow, Are you in this with me
without extended hands, an empty pit
always waiting, and below: do I dare ─

Source: Alexandra Levasseur

Source: Alexandra Levasseur

One day I am thinking of a color

Orange is the happiest color,
said the man with blue eyes. Orange glows
somewhere deep inside my skin. Orange,
smiles the pumpkin in the autumn chill.
Orange grabs the attention
and annoys, too. Orange burns
and burns; orange has always burned.
Orange reminds me of the earth
we all came from long, long ago. Orange holds
yellow between red. Orange is the only color
that names a fruit; how original:
the yellow citrus is a lemon,
the green one a lime,
and that orange one, well,
what the hell are we going to call that one?
Orange is not most people’s favorites,
but it is mine.
Orange hangs like a desert sun
at dusk. Orange rises like a city
sun at dawn. Orange stares
through the tiger. Orange stalks the fox.
Orange follows the monarch butterfly up
into the air. Orange is courage. Orange is a sign
of home. Orange is a sign of danger.
Orange haunts the forest
after the last leaf has fallen. Orange
warns and warms and welcomes.
Orange builds the highway.
Orange imprisons.
Orange jumps for joy.

Things that rust

Bridges: the kind we drive our cars across, the kind that hold us together
over the years, these rust. They maintain their shape, but not always
that grandeur. The rain and the snow and the pressure peel their ends

dirty and rough. Skill: use it or lose it, talent does not always last
or take you very far. Practice, practice, practice, or one day
you will find yourself with angry hands that cannot wow

as they once did. One day you will wish you listened
when someone told teenage you that these things don’t wait
around. Underwater treasure: once cried joy over, once

placed in a precious box, once someone’s favorite pair, someone’s last
hand to hold their grandmother, someone’s crown and glory, now
spitting and spilling red-orange pieces like a bonfire submerged

on the ocean floor. The mind: is it rust or is it a snow covering
that hides a word behind a tongue? What makes a familiar face
a stranger, a little man chipping away at their nose or another


closing a curtain? One thing that will not rust in the mind is music:
if not the words, then the tune remains. A good song cannot rust,
that is sure; once it is played, it is whole again and again.