“can anyone else hear that?”
she thought to herself.
her head, a-buzz with uncertainty.
“only me, okay,”
her heart pounding with anxiety.
friends know your thoughts and predict your next step;
they check in when you’re quiet, reading a letter unsent.
a door opens when you ask it to,
or when you pry it free.
windows are the same,
it’s up to you to see.
don’t expect the chance to wait for you,
or it’ll close when you least expect.
focus on your own success –
’cause everyone else is doing that.
five years of work experience,
five of academic too.
a decade of giving back and learning,
doing more than i had to.
i reached out for help,
seeking suggestions –
“what do i do?”
there was an opening on your team,
and i was keen to learn from you.
you mentioned i wasn’t ready
to yet oversee
the plans you had in mind
for this new opportunity.
i smiled, calmly,
respecting your expertise,
until you mentioned
you had something else in mind for me.
i’m a woman, you are not,
so it mustn’t have occurred to you,
that suggesting i wait for
assistant office work
was not the right thing to do.
“it’s a great job,”
you said, sweat pouring down your face.
“i don’t think it’s right for me,”
“but have a splendid day.”
i dare you not to assume
they wanted to lose weight.
perhaps she is living in fear
or in struggle,
unable to eat or sleep.
perhaps he dreams of fried food,
the one mom made,
but can’t stomach the taste.
perhaps they are simply moving,
to feel great,
less focused on the number,
more keen on the weights.
don’t ask me,
“whats your secret?”
or suggest i stop eating carbs.
your diet tips, not welcome,
the scale no longer
in my cards.
evil doesn’t need to work
when you’ve spent decades criticizing
the people around you,
casting your own shadow of hate,
mocking the old, judging the young.
satan can sit back and watch you
wither away, a smile on his face,
because you’ve done his job free of charge,
casting a curse on your future,
a cost only felt by your pocket,
empty and soiled,
an irreversible spell.
what i will miss the most from my time away
are the easy mornings,
not rushing to change,
steeped earl grey on the sofa,
warm bread, salted butter.
no alarms, no calendar reminders.
the overcast skies and coolish air,
wind poking through the windows,
small sun sneaking through the blinds.
enough time for a second bite, a third thought.
sitting back on the patio,
surrounded by thick plants and soft chatter.
“what brings you here?” instead of,
“what do you do?”
collectively defined by stories and lessons,
instead of titles and addresses.
“you are only infuriated by my loud speak,” she said, “because my tone doesn’t let you interrupt me.”
i always dream of fire
forcing me to choose between
what to take and what can stay.
i always wake up just in time,
a decision never made.
i took my anxiety out on
my dirty balcony floor.
i scrubbed and i wiped.
i sprayed and i dried.
when i was done,
my knees were covered in filth,
my back was dripping in sweat.
all this work for a quick reminder,
that taking a break
shouldn’t be a set-back.
yet here i am,
thinking of all the items on my list,
all that’s left for me to do.