Embers and Tears


She peripherally saw the swirling waters at her feet. Glowing embers lifted on the breeze dotting the dusk like fireflies. She uncurled her fists and hit the wall but quietly so nobody knew
yet not so soft as she was wanting someone to catch her. She wondered as she watched everyone walking through the puddles why they didn’t seem to mind or even notice when she greatly disliked wet socks. Why don’t they stop, roll up their trousers, and wade barefoot? she wondered. Of course no one likes murky water or walking where you can’t exactly see where you’re going. But isn’t that part of the fun? she cried to herself? She was rare in that she truly liked being surprised.

Strange to be seen but not heard, she thought. Like a wisp of smoke rising from newly minted ashes with some grey warmth reaching out carefully. She tried to speak the words people wanted to hear but it always felt like she was playing dress-up with clothes that would never fit. The verbal costumes were fun, but she’d never want to keep them for her own. She’d rather sing and laugh than be so serious and weighted down with worry. When she blinked errant years away the crowd saw the tears and moved on, leaving her shaking and alone.

She wanted to share how happy she was in her own head with somebody in the world but maybe that kind of love is an illusion and the only magic that is true is what we dream when we’re awake. At night, the dreams don’t discern but describe things we don’t want to admit. She probably will never stop reaching out like tendrils of flyaway hair to find the connection that would help her finish her thoughts.

Breathing deep was getting harder as the waters rose but the burning nearby kept her warm. When she looked around, she realized she had missed some living while treading in her thoughts. Catching moments was harder than counting grains of sand. But not as hard as counting snowflakes.

Embers and tears combine and conspire to make the work of messy art that made her cache of nightmares come alive in a rich two-dimensional frame of reference.

Nightmares Imprinted

She longed for the days of nightmares
Wishing she could run into her parents’ room
Be hugged and bundled
And told she was safe.

She couldn’t remember any dreams that brought light
Or any time she wasn’t scared.

Everything hurt so much
Her head spun with the memories
Stunned by finding herself years later still scared.

She couldn’t be completely certain of being awake or dreaming anymore
She had glimpsed light so bright she couldn’t stand it
She bundled herself off to hide where she found a safe place
No one would think to look right in the open
Or see through what seemed an opening
But was a dream.

Nightmares imprinted
Awoke the mind and made her sick
But then at least she wasn’t numb
And it wasn’t real if she could awake.

Dreams with light are for believers in such things
Who haven’t seen anything really ugly
Who haven’t felt the fear of wearing the ugliness like a coat
Who don’t know to welcome fear as something real
And she could walk away from something real.