Cinderella as Earth Mother, baby. I was still working on where to put
line breaks. I won a highschool poetry contest with
this - I think I got $25 or so. Whoot!
She Changes Everything She Touches
Storm sleets down, gunmetal grey
tiny bullets coat my windshield, caught in the wipers
The miles wash by, unchanging as the cloudy sky.
Until my eyes catch the
a jewel glitter up ahead. A ball gown, a glass slipper?
Slow down on the empty road to see what I'm approaching.
It's no jewel, no fancy gown-
a woman ripped and torn,
the glitter a beer can caught in the shreds of her skirt,
the flash from shards of glass embedded in bleeding breast.
A sacred river runs down the curve of her throat:
a salt-water river of tears
pooling in the hollows of her bones.
But still her voice is proud and kind
a painful hoarseness the only betrayer of her experience
as she asks for a ride.
I reach out my hand and help her into the passenger side-
the leather seat seems to sear her flesh, and as I touch her hand
it becomes mud before my eyes
the world blurs like raindrops across my windshield
And I blink, and look again.
Close up, the round, battered, proud woman
Her hair now the yellow tan of willow leaves,
skin a gentle brown, earth-color
smile of pure sunlight.
But the scars remain, the glitter is not gone,
nor is it gold nor gems, nor silver mines
Broken glass still carves her flesh.
She smiles, and tells me
her children have done this, unknowingly, in their games.
She forgives them, they don't know they're hurting her
as a child will touch a bright flame, not knowing it burns
and unwittingly putting it out.
A product of a dysfunctional family? I wonder,
reaching out to brush a dead leaf from her shoulder
but it doesn't come away.
And then I see it-
the river still flowing between her breasts,
the tree growing from her belly,
the stars in her eyes, literally in her eyes.
And the yellow of her hair is willow.
And among the scars and poisons
we, her children, have inflicted
tiny new green leaves have still begun to curl.