Friday, June 29, 2012

A Poem by April Salzano


You, my words, my thoughts, my language. This
is the hell I visit on my way to catharsis. Here
is my reach for understanding,
the deeper meaning you think I am seeking
among your thoughts, the ghosts of your lost
arguments and failed attempts at discourse. I will give
you the fight you think I am picking, the scabs
you think I am ripping open. There is a change,
that much is true. I want to reach
one other soul and learn what
each of us lacks.
I want complete connection, to fit
together inside
the way your nose fits perfectly
against my forehead.
We were meant to lie
side by side, face to face, a circle
closed against time and space. If I could, I would erase

the lurking shadow of my past. I would take
all the intimacies and their antitheses and feed them through
your paper shredder, six sheets at a time,
cross cut into something fit
to line a hamster cage.
Let’s watch my past turn to ash, burn too quickly to catch
me, a blank greeting card, good for any occasion. Fill me
in with any stock phrase, any simple
explanation or retractable statement that holds no duplicity,
no metaphor. For you

I would stop my mind from doing its silly little dance
that turns bad into worse before I can
begin to throw stones at my own
house, one pebble at a time
until I am hurling boulders, dodging broken
memories where bits and pieces knot
my mane and mirrors deceive
even the most skillful of navigators. I am
lost in my head, my dialogue, my justifications. I am
tangled in my own speech. Metaphorical
and literal become indistinguishable. Don’t bother
pretending to understand. Meaning is subjective.

This is the place I bring us like a vacation
home, where we overstay our own
welcome, but don’t pack our things to go. The intensity
here will make the return to normalcy
and all its boredom feel beautiful again. Escape
is called that for a reason. When I am locked
in this house, trying each window and door
with precision before I fail, is that you I see
as still as a decoy dangling the key
from your mouth, but pretending to search
for a means to my release?
Your arms are outstretched but empty.

You want out. I’ll set you free.
You need pain. Let me play sadist.
You want to hide. Here, crawl inside.
I will give you a haven from which you will never come
home. I am your metaphor. I am your poem. Recite me.
I am your scar, your recurrent dream.
What I will take with me when I go is nothing
less than your soul, ripped wide open and ready
to embrace the void that will become
the nothing you have spent your life building.

April Salzano teaches writing at Westminster College. She has published poetry in several online and print journals and is currently working on her first collection of poems and an autobiographical novel on raising a son with Autism, if the beauty and pain allow articulation.

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