When I was a child,
when was I a child,
when did I stop being a child?
When-where, time-and-space blur together
endlessly so that I’m neither here nor there,
now nor then but all of them.
That grownup place haunts me still,
still child in the dark afraid to be found,
to be found out, afraid not to be found.
My book, my solitude, the quiet of the safe space
behind the brocade sofa draped in swaths of
sheets like ghosts consigned to the locked
room where no one is allowed,
muffling the angry voices saying unforgivable,
unforgettable, regrettable things.
I, the one hunkered down, little rabbit;
the other, drowning civility in the cadences
of hatred, disrespect, launched like bullets,
whining across the maw of the fox-hole.
What no-man’s land out there–the out there
and the in here, neither here nor there,
my safe book, my safe nook, the tall ceilings
that shut out the sky of the house echoing
the sounds bouncing off the walls of my child’s
heart, my child’s mind, still.
Still, I hear the coarse gratings. When
can I come out? Will I ever be able
to face the sun again, again play
in the rain, in the space of falling leaves,
leaves that turn into forts? Leave
this house full of wrath? My little space?
I’ve brought my pillow and my blanket,
my book to fly away into
the safety of someone else’s story.