So That I Might Be Held

I am alone again in my apartment with my cats.
I mean still—I am still alone.
I think I would have to trap someone
into loving me, pretend I am all
light and wind instead of
dirt and ashes and shadow.
But I would never do that—
I will bend for no one.
I could melt myself into a snap trap jaw
with pointed teeth like wounds
but I am rigid steel cold,
pleasing only myself and only sometimes.
Up through the bubbling skin of the earth
that is my skin under my skin
where I lie against my fate my future
between the part of me who would
surrender to violent days and nights,
be beat, humiliated, asked for forgiveness,
all so that I might be held like a child now and then
and the part of me who will go to the grave
unwilling to settle at all, wanting it perfect and whole,
forcing myself into the bitter mouth of an empty bed,
rises the steel pillar that I have crushed myself into.
Crushed myself like a butterfly
into something more important but dead.
Crushed myself my bones my lungs my brain my heart.
Crushed myself every dream every hope of hope
movement breath of life dance lingering
blood run fingers eyes name tear shout tongue
music laugh seeds blind cough lips soft balance
fear glide words fall stomach breasts swim tremor
all crushed into hard and ugly, cold and alone.

1993 © Stephanie Hager