I find myself pocket-sized
hiding behind beautiful metaphors.
In fact, I make a new living out of it,
being a yoga and meditation teacher.
She asked me, what is the metaphor
I read through a shaking voice
every cell in me wanting
to be witnessed by the King
of the first workshop I’ve attended
since being in her Poems and Power.
We’ve all come to sit around her table
hoping for her to shout in her
wide mouth smile laughter
that pierces the top of
your lips until your heart explodes.
Except when I finished reading my poem
she didn’t explode; she felt my truth
like she’s so practiced at telling,
it’s been hiding.
She invited me to listen
and asked me, “What is the metaphor?”
She wanted to know my grandmother’s name
and the crumbs on my kitchen counter
I’d just swept in the trash along
with everything I like to dispose of.
The tiny details I forget to remember
because they’ve been too painful
to collect and hold. So, I’ve stored
them in my cells that constantly
explode in swelling and inflammation
demanding I give them a voice.
I used to let others name them
as Palendromic Rhematism
or Epstein Barr Virus
but now I know they are just
teachers when I’m willing to hear.
I want to ask, her, though, how do you get specific
when all you’ve felt is the missing
pieces of yourself, the metaphors
are the safest way for you to speak
when your voice has been told to be silent
as yet another man climbed on top of you
and told you to keep quiet.
Yet here I am, wanting to get loud
to be heard and seen.
To let my truth out and realizing
it’s me still hiding behind the beautiful metaphors.
They paint a vivid picture, but they don’t tell
the truth of my heart that is aching to be seen
not by the grandeur she embodies
but by my very cells aching to go deeper.
I’d thought I’d drown with them already
going to their depths to listen to their chatter
that were once named in me as Postorual Orthestic
Tachycardia Syndrome, ironically acronymed P.O.T.S.
as if it’s just a kitchen appliance
when it was the very thing that
drew me to more silence as you raced more
your body falls to the ground, unconscious, to
tired to function.
From the time I found Micah, my ex-husband’s phone
filled with a text to a woman he was working
at Whole Food’s declaring he wanted to fuck her
that pesky kitchen appliance showed its face then.
My mother called it too much exercise and
told me to pray more. I used to bike down the
Confluence River for 10 miles on my $200
twenty-five-pound turquoise Target bike
she and my aunt just bought me for my birthday
four months before.
I named her Betty.
Not after my abusive father’s
mother, Betty Dillen, but after the embodiment
of the 1950’s wife, I’d convinced myself
I needed to become as I made bread in the kitchen
homemade chocolate chip cookies, Micah never
really liked, but ate some of them anyway.
I devoured most of them and then climbed
back on Betty to make sure my body
would still be lovable to him when he did
show interest in bed with me some nights
as I hungered for more than the sugar
he constantly proclaimed wasn’t the right texture.
I don’t know what the metaphor is or why I keep hiding
from the specifics of my life, and maybe it’s because I haven’t
been brave enough, even though I’ve fought for my life
as the doctor stared me in the eye and told me
I’d be forever sick, and there was only medication
that could take away my eyesight to help me manage
my inability to stand upright in my kitchen
I called my job. No, I left his office, and I said,
“I will not be sick, I have a life to live,
and my daughter to hold.” Despite
what the doctors kept telling me that I was too
weak to pick her up, let alone keep
the job I loved to do, capturing the majesty
of two souls declaring their love for each other.
So I spent the next five years ravenous
for the life I knew I could build
with my two bare hands.
However, I made a promise to myself today
to call myself out on playing small
and remember, I can just say my truth
without filtering it behind, “bless her heart’s”,
ridiculous platitudes and those lovely
goddess’s ethereal metaphors that help me
escape the pain of my real humanity.