Sometimes one shrinks

from the brink

of a gathering

of wonders.

Will I be warmed

by their flashing, collective light,

or torn asunder for lack

of the firmament needed

to hold my own candle steady

against and amidst

such bright gusts of self?

Early in the week

my door bell sounded, resounded

through the stone-surrounded apartment.

My allotted time with a mentor-writer

came and went.

I spent that golden hour

face down on the soft, rented bed,

enshrouded in knowing

I couldn’t bring my flame

to the shared banquet table –

it was too fragile,

I was too fragile.

Always building, shaping, loving

my own glow,

always bandaging, soothing, kissing

my deep hurt.

Always eyes wide,

the world feeling curt.

I was not ready

to join the show

and therefore

to know

if others


that yes, the time had come

to speak.

If others

would pull out a chair,

lay a plump worm in my beak.

I was not ready

to plant my seed

in a shared, fertile row

to see if it would grow.

I stared into the blanket,

into nothing.

Later I tracked down an afternoon coffee,

troubling off-duty waiters

who acted untroubled

despite their double shifts.

I lifted that dark drink to my lips

and told myself that this dose of bravery,

of caffeinated who-gives-a-shit,

would have to

it must

do the trick.

I licked my milk-caked spoon

and quieted the stubborn, nervous swoon,

the panic of showing this gorgeous group

one sliver of me.

The me

that is

part tree

part fairy

and part

what other people see.

What only they can see.

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