A Good Little Girl in a Big Bad World

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Like the echoes of a crumpled sketch
I threw into a tin waste basket
the beats of my heart continue.
It is empty
except for the ripped, wrinkled, discarded
outlines of the plans I made to find…to find something.
I kept a few sketches and, over time,
filled them in with colored ink,
continuing their elaboration as I felt fit.
The rest are wasted paper.
Thoughts, feelings, once vividly imagined,
now tapering—one, two, three at a time—
into shreds, ash.
Decomposed compositions of my soul
that I waited too long to show,
that I waited too long to let myself know,
and admit that below,
I knew what I wanted to hold–

your heart.

At the moment you awake
and your feet touch the ground,
your heart beats,
like the echoes of a soft voice
filling an endless canyon
with its strengthening sound.
And it rattles the kinked lining of my
tin waste basket,
filling the small space,
shaking the trashed lines of your face.
Reminding me that I never even tried to chase you.

I never tried.

And I. Stand. Still.
Ossified by the fear of risk
and the trill of conscience
keeping my safety at bay.
Because I don’t want to pay for a stupid mistake.
I always make the smart decisions,
informing others inquisitions
of how I’ve kept such moral precision.
They ask and I say “I’m cautious,
I listen to my conscience…”
and I’ve been such a good girl
in a big bad world,
throwing risk under the bus
to protect my soul from disgust,
the Ideal always trumping self-interest,
rusting my desirous, unrequited lust.
Living the Ideal as true to its pure white hue as I can do…

until you.

These black and white coiled tin arteries
unraveling in a blurred flurry of grey,
the shreds and ash of my discarded soul setting ablaze,
an eternal cliche
of the need to give love,
the undying, sighing, need to be loved.

And I looked in a mirror to view the change.
And what I saw was a heart unchained.
Clean and untouched as the day it first beat.
Soft and sensitive, mild and meek.
I think what to say to me, to you,
at this precious moment
of the beginning of truth.


more by A. M. LAINE

photograph by Gabriel Forcina


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