I was a chattering child
living in the Sturm und Drang
until a jealous dark star filled my mouth with snow and silence.
There I stayed, a drift with nothing to say
for decades and donkey's years,
feet nailed to the floor to prevent St. Vitus' Dance.
Though silent, I was not stupid--
I hid my heart in the hollow of a tree
until such time as I could own the fever,
like a yogi or a bush doctor.
Over ages, slow as a slat-leaked barrel,
I incubated language inside my teeth;
each word sharp as truth and long as lies.
I pulled the nails up inside my feet,
until I had claws, and when I finally moved,
it was under a sign-moon, quick as a curse.
I spat out the snow and my mouth learned new tricks--
there were the poems I garlanded from asters and barbed wire.
There were the women who listened, and whom I kissed.
Long ago, I went back to claim my heart from the tree,
and bargained with the guardian owl for a fair price
and her share of a summer night.
I gave myself a name, and the name means "beloved".
From that day until this, I have walked up and down upon the earth;
the snakes know me and hush their hiss.
Still, for all that, here is what I have learned,
and it is a woman's lesson, to be kept in a locket,
in a trunk, in secret, against bad fortune when it comes in threes:
that silence may still have its moment.
Remember the bird who can hide your heart,
and when the wind swings down and the moon goes dark,
remember you can run.
you can run.
top image "In The Woods 2" by onkami, both images found on weheartit.com
poem idea inspired by the Catie Curtis song "Run", which I can't find a video of, but the lyrics can be found HERE.