NaPoWriMo Poem #26: Box

There is a box. It is
wooden, a mistreated servant made out of
rot and blood stains. It holds
some of my years, the ones where
the mirror looked like broken teeth and empty
bedrooms. Sycamore legs that looked like
fear, shaking and stripped of bark to show
the white underneath. Prom nights, spent at home,
full of wishes that I could emerge, full-winged, instead of
an earthbound thing, soft and hairy, many-legged, with a upturned belly
like a dog’s fear gone white and asking for teeth. And a
tattered gospel, its chapter and verse preached to me
in slaps and insults.

I try not to ever open the box. When I do,
I am forced to play cleanup to bloody dolls that
look like me. They don’t walk right. They trip
over the earthquakes inside their chests. They have
no knees, no elbows, to tuck themselves into balls
and roll under tables. There are steel rods inside their necks
where bend and flex should be. Each pair of eyes
is fixed straight ahead in wide-open terror. Their
dresses are made out of torn adolescence, like
pages out of notebooks that you rip away because
you are too ashamed for the paper to know
your dirt. And none of them wear underwear. I used to
plead to Eve for her fig leaf, but she kept telling me
that she still needed it.

My bruises are in that box, too. I must make them wear poems
because I cannot stand to hear their sickness. They tell me
that I deserved to wear them because of
the dictionaries I ate and the chunks of college-level
vocabulary that I used to exhale. They tell me
that there is a broken commandment in knowing the
breadth and depth of the Harlem Renaissance but needing a map
to know how to raise and lower Venetian blinds. And they tell me that
my name is whore, and that I deserve a storm of stones because
I could not see teenage boy dick dropping out of a
yet unopened zipper: for the greatest sin
is not to walk away before the teeth unclench themselves. But
I was deaf to zippers and to intent buried inside words. This is what happens
when you are missing files in your brain.

But these days, I am wise. My breath is rotting
with fruit. I search for fig leaves still, and find none. I write
poems to cover my nakedness, but it
never works – they keep exposing me to
the eyes of all. There is a hadith inside my head
that tells me to cover up, but I cannot obey it. So I will
leave the box open now:
the bruises keep erupting onto my skin,
and those stripped sycamore legs demand dignity
and knees. My dolls are banging fists on the inside of the box lid,
screaming for exit and justice. I have a hammer for the mirror, and a
bonfire hungry for that tattered gospel.

Written 4/26/10
© 2010 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This poem is #26 written for NaPoWriMo 2010, and for NaPoWriMo Prompt #26: Get Scrappy over at Read Write Poem. I took a scrap of a poem that I tried to write in January, and turned it into two poems: this one and “Greeting”. I hope you enjoyed the read.


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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
This entry was posted in Asperger Poetry, NaPoWriMo 2010, Poems, Prompt Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to NaPoWriMo Poem #26: Box

  1. Pingback: NaPoWriMo Poem #25: Greeting « Raven's Wing Poetry

  2. I could read this over and over again. So many adjectives to be applied to this: raw, personal, uncanny, horrifying, transformative… could go on and on, but however you slice it, it can be endlessly re-read.

  3. kelly green says:

    This is incredible. Your poems are so raw and true. I love the way you lay out your perspective and your pains. It is a blessing and a help Nicole.Thankyou for sharing your so very intense talent!!

  4. Pingback: Poetry for Autistics Speaking Day « Woman With Asperger's

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