The heap of bones they cleave
and joints they cannot save.
The sweating glass of who she is
dripping leprous tears and leaving rings
on beauty's shallow page.
The strings of hollow eyes
like Christmas lights
that die before the holidays.
With monocles that magnify
the bulky cross of wooden strides
and balconies of jaws agape
like rows of empty seats
and arid wells of wanton dreams.
The fear of falling
from the grace of shrouded stares.
Ironed starch of saving face
across the collar of her soul.
But in the hive of darker hours
her agony is quelled
by reaching out
and cherished gifts of loving words
that frame and dot her i's and days.
They grant her space to spill
the soured milk of misery
and curtain calls of validation
tucked between the lines of praise.
That vital breath of confidence
adrift on life's revolving stage.
The 2River View, 2_2 (Winter 1998)