Shadow Poetry

here there be dragons

your breath keeps fogging up my heart. fingertips charred, frostbitten heart, you need this. hope hurts but it’s the only game in town. and if my lungs can pretend I’m alive, we can make it on this tightrope. too far from the ground to know what’s up or down, bleed into it. dig in. electricity swimming through my nerve endings, a heady breeze stolen from the safety just out of reach.

I had my eyes closed when I tripped over your wings, blinked and you were gone. I’m dropping baggage and balancing on broken feet. try me. they already did, with gasoline in their veins and thorns in their embrace, but they fell to their own poison.

a kiss can never lie but death sure tries. and just before I flatlined, I felt it wake in me. a sleeping creature that met me as I fell, live flames in my mouth, jumper cables to my heart.

breathing fire isn’t so hard, after all.


by Daphne Shadows

Shadow Poetry

no vacancy

i didn’t run dry

you bled me out

like a carcass


left me propped up

no toe tag to speak of

lights on

‘open for business’ sign lit up

and lying


it’s empty

bound and covered

scrawled with lovely

bold lettering

embossed even

pages numbered

it’s empty


Daphne Shadows

Shadow Poetry

someday feels a long way away

you breathed life into me

promptly took it away

trapped in an animated

lights on, state of decay

i’m floundering here

struggling to be just okay

trying to breathe, to stand

but struggling i stay

 

you built choice into what i am

promptly took it away

the only decisions i still make

what scraps to wear, what to say

my tongue turns to lead nightly

sets on fire in the day

my soul is losing lighting

from trying to survive this way

 

i’m terrified you’ll take more

that’s your pattern: take away

i want the chance to breathe freely

to wake up and live one day

i gather up bits of hope

embers that made it anyway

and keep shambling along

desperate for the chance to live someday.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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Micro Stories

behind the curtain

they weren’t really listening but they saw the truth anyway. it looked, for all its effort, like a lie. came wrapped up in a story they didn’t understand. but they only stuck to the surface, wanting a laugh, wanting a smile, wanting a fake face and a comfortable tale.

and so the truth slipped into the unknown, alone and lost and wondering why so many walked by, shrugging at its apparent sounds of struggle and pleas for help.

but then you happened upon us.

one silly smile and the world was alight with sun globes and sparkles and all those little pieces of confetti that were thrown away at the end of the parties. gathered up and stuffed in our pillows, because you happened upon us.

 

it’s not just that you sauntered on by. it’s that you stopped.

in the stopping, you breathed in, like a dragon with a belly full of fire, waiting to soak in every moment, notice every tiny detail in a world impermanent and ever-changing. a momentous shift in the state of things, nothing more than a spec of a second to you, the gem at the corner of your eyes.

a blink, and what’s what has changed for you.

yet you paused, a galaxy worth’s of memory, and you saw us. smiled, and reached a scaly hand down, down, down into the depths of what most ignored. their sideways glances bringing hurried steps quicker and quicker, further and further away. wouldn’t want to have to deal with it. wouldn’t want to have to change or help or stoop down to lend a hand.

but you dipped your claws into the muck and the hidden, pulling the truth from behind the curtain, and held us in your hands like the most precious of treasures.

 

we realized then. the truth isn’t what’s written or noticed. we didn’t need them to see in order to be. the truth is the truth, no matter the trappings. and you showed us the cost of accepting is brilliancy untold.

 

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Micro Stories

i dreamt the sky broke

I could fly. The wind didn’t frighten me and the limitations that hold me back didn’t exist anymore. I was free. And strong. Invulnerable to harm, even.

Everything felt right, good. I smiled and meant it, joy sweeping through my entire body and lifting me through every moment like some absurdly sweet fairy tale come to life.

There was still pain and suffering in the world. Still villains and confused humans who thought they were helping as they heaped sand over the heads of those they claimed to love. The lost still roamed, the weather still changed with no regard to our desires.

But I could do something about it.

I collided with the ichor of the world, stopping the ugliness and taking its power away. I thrived on righting wrongs, protecting, and helping those in my scope of influence. It was a whirlwind romance with life.

 

Sitting beside friends at an event of massive proportions, there were others like me, among the crowd. We knew each other in the way no one else around us did. We were the ones who ran toward danger, put ourselves to the hazard. Not for glory. No one knew who we were (we had actual disguises, not a pair of glasses). But we knew. We did it to help, to ease some of the misery. Something inside us couldn’t rest, couldn’t be at one with who we were unless we did this. It drove us, electrified us, filled us with fire.

We smiled knowingly at each other and traded jokes that meant things beyond the surface. Our friends passed food and we chatted, passing yummy smells down the tables as we spent the time catching up and snacking, waiting for something. An excited tension built throughout the crowd of attendees, eager.

The sky darkened and a large, misshapen blue crystal became visible, just above the clouds, a thick and dark fog filling the sky, lower, lower, lower until we could hardly see. A massive crack in a decaying slice of agony and betrayal. Someone had broken it, sending shock-waves throughout the world, the implications of which, no one knew.

The crowd gasped as a collective, abandoning food and clustering together, trapped or hiding. My friends and I made our escape outside, into the day where the sun’s rays no longer penetrated the afternoon.

 

But once outside, I fell, an unseen force pushing me toward the ground, pressure against my body so tight I could hardly breathe, and something inside me cracked. In the middle there, just below my navel. I couldn’t lift my head to look down at my own body, couldn’t move a single limb.

Not only had my inhuman strength been stripped, but I couldn’t find the energy to do much more than blink.

My breathing slowed, a huge rush blocking out the sounds of the panicking crowd, the crackling in the sky, the mayhem all around me. I turned my head from where I lay on my back. The others like me suffered the same fate, I could feel them. But I couldn’t find anyone in the fog, just knew.

 

A scrawny twenty-something came out of the fog and knelt beside me, trying to help.

Painlessly, I felt my skin split, deep blue light that didn’t so much glow as it did emanate from within me, drawing our attention in hushed confusion. A tiny blue crystal hovered just above my navel, having lifted out from within my stomach. It just hung there, slowly losing light.

“What do I do?” The kid asked. He had his hands awkwardly out in front of him, one just above the crystal, like he was afraid it would float away and he was preparing to grab it.

 

The whole time, the only thing I could think, was to fix this so I could get out there and help the people trapped inside. Get back to being me. None of the airy joy bled from me, no doubt crept in. I just focused on the task, not a fear in sight.

I smiled at him, breathless, and said, “touch it”.

I knew if only he touched it, it would zap the life back into me, knew everything would be okay.

He hesitantly drew a finger closer, closer…

 

The moment he touched it, it absorbed into him. He jolted backward, frantically trying to find where it was. But it took effect, changing him, and he stood, stronger, filled with a radiance he hadn’t possessed before. More solidly him, as if every bit of untapped potential was now on tap, fired up, rewired, and ready to use.

He needed to change before I could take the crystal back, before it could be mine once again.

And I woke up.

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Shadow Poetry

Rosy

the world fell apart

did you notice?

 

i fell with the ashes

the soot crowned

me numb

 

i don’t know that i

ever got back up

 

beneath the rubble

living where they never suspect

building

with the shattered bricks

they left me under

 

a corpse

they never counted

a ghost

they’ll never see coming

 

they never do

 

we all fell down

did you feel it?

 

By Daphne Shadows

 

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Shadow Poetry

Like Clockwork

I wish I could

Reach into your chest

Hold your heart

And breathe life

Into your skin

 

If only my tongue

Told stories with

Answers instead of

Questions

 

Maybe if I used the

Whispers hiding inside…

 

But they don’t want

To show themselves

Outside my skin.

 

I keep forgetting…

 

But I cannot

Remember

 

Sometimes I wish

So deeply that I forget

It’s a wish

 

And then I forget

It’s there at all

 

 

By Daphne Shadows

Shadow Poetry

Fragmented

IM SITTING WITH A BUNCH

OF LITTLE PIECES

I RIPPED THEM UP

I PUT THEM THERE

THEY HURT AND THEY CRY

AND THEY KIND OF KNOW

WHY

THEY ALWAYS KNEW

THEY ALWAYS KEPT

KEPT QUIET

WATCHED

REMEMBERED

I ALWAYS KNEW

DIDN’T I?

 

I GUESS THEY’RE PEACE

EACH BROKEN SHRED

THEY’RE SITTING THERE

STARING AT ME

THEY’RE ALWAYS MINE

EVEN TORN

OKAY

OKAY

SO WHAT DO I DO WITH

THEM EACH PIECE?

BROKEN SMOTHERED

USED WORN

 

I GUESS I SUPPOSE MAYBE

THE POINT THE NEED

THE URGE THE

DESIRE

IS TO FEEL THEM

HURT

THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE

 

IM SITTING WITH A BUNCH OF

LITTLE PIECES

I RIPPED THEM UP

I PUT THEM THERE

 

THEY’RE CRYING

AND I DON’T WANT TO

THEY’RE CALLING LIKE AN ANIMAL

SHORN WITH PAIN

MADNESS AND SADNESS

CLAWING INTO EACH PIECE

THEY’RE MY WAY TO HOPE

ARENT THEY?

 

I’M ALL THESE LITTLE PIECES

I DON’T WANT TO BE

ALL THESE LITTLE PIECES

ARE MY WAY BACK

TO ME

 

 

by Daphne Shadows