Tuesday, August 20, 2013

for those

A vase
perches on the
          edge of the tub,
                                  a burst of milk white flowers.

Careful of it, when climbing out, she steps
onto the inky black bath mat,
sinks her feet into the frill.

The contrast of dark
                                                              and light feels fancy,
                                                              and she wishes
                                                                     she could stay.

falls outside,
 and from her window, she
                                     sees, first,
                                                   the silken layer on the fir trees before her
vision finds the parking lot below.

She came years ago, but much since then has
       changed.  The room is a planned
                escape.  Really not so far from
but may as well be.

She is different here- or wants to be.

She has dreamed
  of this space,
plotted for months
       the fleeing,
 seen at night the journey marked
         and so knew the winding upward roads
              she traveled.

She finds the altitude
                             up here less dreary
even with the cold
than down in town.
sun is
setting quickly now,
and she wraps the weighty
   towel provided around her dripping body, thinks
                            about what brought her back.

Transferring towel
she paces
from the
bathroom to the phone by bedside
  and back again.

Fear stabs unexpected, and so
        she opens the waiting
bottle.  She glugs.  This is
              how she drinks.
                                 vice.  Like a fish, he always said.
                                                        She drinks greedily, hating herself
but rapidly warming.  His chiding voice returns when she lights a cigarette-
       Another nasty habit.  She hits
              the air like the
              thought is a gnat she can
                                         shoo away.  Her muscles give up hurting on the next swallow, and encouraged,
she revisits intent,
opens the drawer of the nightstand and looks at what
        she brought. Its promise nestled safely away, and
        she almost picks it up
but doesn't.

Not yet.

She decides that maybe first, she'll go to the local tavern, not drink alone this time.
Just for a while be with others.
                                      Others like her.  Free, like her, ungoverned.
Not stuffy and concerned.
Start a tab, play her favorite songs on the jukebox she remembers, dance.
She feels like dancing.

She finds clothes,
and a
little wobbly,
             begins to dress.  It's hot in here, so
                      she dresses lightly.  And just because she can
she puts on her pink, felt hat,
                                                                                                        one he hates,
over applies her makeup,
         and once downstairs where those like her gather, she orders herself a drink.  Is
her third?  Fourth?  She chuckles flippantly  at the
      triumph of her own last call.

The new plan is to pace herself.  Sleep would thwart.
But this
          is tricky
because slowness can set in sadness.
Moods announce themselves by degrees.
                                            See, she's aware.  In control.  She keeps flow
                                                                                                            for the next hour, steady,
dances with a guy named Bobby who offers to take her to her room.
          She declines but decides he's right.  It's time to

When alone
she is missing....wishing.....
her eyes betray and droop.
She has not made it
                 to the
On floor, she
against fatigue's persuasion, but her muscles melt,
and the last
       thought she has before passing out is the recognition that she's fucked up once again.

It's not a nice thought but a thought she has often, coming from a voice she always heeds.
Foul minded always she cannot fathom forgiveness.
She knows no cure.
And in this state
will forget
what arrives in silence,
                   see not the
fortune bestowed in a blackout.  She'll wake, angry
                             in the unbearable glow of a morning she did not plan,
                                                                                                          pissed off further
by a forced sobriety when she finds nothing to wash down the guilt, nothing to stave off the shakes.
                   She will not know
                           why she was saved.

She will self-possess in later hours, drive home,
                                       know enough to not mention where she's been.
She will recover.  Then repeat.

And if her
                    heart can ever manage to
                                    measure the amount of times it has kept on beating,
                                     maybe she'll come to, one day, like new.
And she'll tell this story.
                                 Or one
just like it.
She'll relay her plans,
she'll talk about the years spent sick,
the times she wasted, just plain fucked-up.
Then she'll say she was saved and she's not sure why.
And her words will be a tribute.
For the others.
Others like her.
Chained like she was.
For those still suffering.

The Sunday Whirl
Write at the Merge


  1. Wow. Very heavy. I liked the line about not being able to fathom forgiveness.

  2. I love the flow, the rhythm of this piece.

  3. an intriguing little odyssey

    much love...

  4. I love stumbling upon stories written in ways in which I would never think to write them. Like Roxanne, I loved the flow of the writing. This was a great response to the prompt and very well written.