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The Short Way Home - a poetry blog

New Eyes of Worthiness

Jill Cooper

The woman used to step out

of her morning skin

and dress in protective layers

of scratchy fear, and a hat of scathe.

She lived in a perpetual kind of shock,

even before the bad thing she knew

was sure to happen, happened.

She felt prepared, that way.

Prepared for what might, no, what

would, certainly, go wrong.

 

She wore sturdy shoes, in order to kick

annoying people. Those shoes also

had a stacked sort of heel to absorb

the various shudders

the world forced upon her. She hid

her eye-rolls, not particularly well, since

she was good with words, but tried,

with sunglasses, and a syrupy voice.

From that sweet voices shot hot streams

of venom

 

several times a day,

to prove she was not so naive as

to not have noticed how messed up

the world was. At home, she used only

her fork as the weapon, pushing it

hard across the plate, so that people

would wonder if she was displeased

with them, or some other mysterious

force (they did deserve it, for

the record.)

 

Then one day she grew bored of it. She

wanted her head to stop hurting

and to stop minding so much when things broke.

She wanted to laugh, without sarcasm,

and to just see, what if love were mostly

a verb.

 

She wanted peace, at least, inside, she thought.

(You'll want to know that she had been

a pacifist and had even written

some important articles about war and the

futility of violence. But it dawned on her that day

she was on her own, a type of battle on a body.

How could one expect whole countries to stop

fighting, she thought, if individuals

had not even made a truce

yet with themselves and those around them? )

 

Change was easier than expected. It was a decision.

 

So she left her morning skin on

that strange new day

and dressed only in a layer of something that

breathed.

Something good for a party.

Suddenly, all the features of the world's face

she recognized as those of a great

magician.

 

And she rested in her new eyes.

 

Not being religious, she asked for grace,

to see if it was free

for anyone.

 

And grace, not being religious either,

came to her, arms wide open, laughing

and loving, soothing and excited!

She cried a few things out-

mostly about the past - but she no longer

treasured it like a badge, an identity. Grace being

a genie, turned her past into a purple geode.

 

They set it in the windowsill, next to

the houseplants.

They have travelled together so happily ever after,

now, staying up late kissing,

gambling on peace, decorating the house,

drinking up the joy of the world,

and spending love

like it grows on trees.

 

-Jill Cooper

Exult Road ©2014