Cucumber love

Cucumber love

They say they love you

And they do

Sort of

One day you find yourself
Wearing a construct
An exoskeleton
Awkward
You can move
See out

You built it slowly over years
Because that’s what you were told to do
You wanted to be loved
It made you feel safe

There is praise
Or at least pressure to keep it on
You may not have known it was there
And slowly begin to feel
Who you really are
Awaken to the shell

One day you slip out

They are still saying how much they love you
To the empty construct

You watch bemused
For a while

You say “That isn’t me.”
“Of course it is,” they say

“I’m over here,” you say

Shock and outrage
“That’s not you!
You’ve changed, you’re depressed
Confused, manic, gone out of your mind!
Off the deep end!” 

You might even go back in
the construct for a little while

But now you’ve tasted freedom
You won’t be able to stand it for long
You will be out soon

Some people will see you as you really are

Some people will tell you they still love you
But as they say it to the construct
They act as if you’re still wearing it

They still think you love cucumbers
Though you ate that dish once to be polite
They hold the construct in their minds
Even after you’ve destroyed it
And behave the same as they ever did

As you walk away
You will wonder who they loved

first published on everything2 on June 9, 2009

Prayer for a dream

Prayer for a dream

Last night before I went to sleep, at 7 pm because I had had an exhausting trip to a lung specialist, I prayed for a dream.

I asked the Beloved to send a kind dream, a beautiful dream, a comforting dream to a friend. He says that he remembers all his dreams and they are all terrible. He has only told me one, a battle dream. He is protecting his teenage son in it.

So I woke with a vivid dream: I dream that I am at his house outside. His home is by the woods and I am in love with the forest. It has downed logs and deep loam and mushrooms and slugs and birds and small dark squirrels. I was the only woman in the dream and the only person. The others, including him, are shadows. I am digging in the duff quite happily, messing around, and listening. They were talking about cars and engines and repairs.

I am digging in the duff and keep finding things. Bits of metal, pieces of something. They are covered with rotting forest material that smells wonderful. One of the shadows holds a box out to me, about 8 by 8 inches square, to put the pieces in. I uncover one more. I lift it. It is a crown.

It is not a crown. It is a headband, but a hat too. I have a number of these headpieces. I like the ones with feathers sticking up, that make me look like a slightly deranged bird. People can’t follow conversations when the feathers move. It is fun to watch.

But this headband is metal and it has gems. I brush it off and the shadows stop talking and look. They move forward and then back away, leaving only my friend.

I have a moment of regret. We are now all sure that the other pieces have gems too. A robot? A statue? Made of metals. This is a puzzle and I am good at puzzles. But it is not mine. I will not put anything in the box.

His shadow looms over me and I look up. The sun is behind him, so all I see is a dark shape. I wake up as I hold out the headpiece. The pieces are his. I don’t know if he knew they were there. I was just playing in the loam. He will have to decide: more digging or to bury them again.