Shadow Poetry

betrayal

don’t thank me

i might’ve stepped on you

had you strayed


don’t try to change me

i’ll take from you

if your lie is true


and when i’m done

your lungs will empty

and your heart will pound


you’ll call for me

but i won’t be found


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

Micro Stories

i muddled through the black waters, pants sticking to my legs and trying to drag me deeper, deeper into the depths of what i couldn’t see.

true north shone brightly in front of me, coaxing me farther into the shallow night.

their lights nicked me here and there. i dove behind patches of nature i couldn’t name, my breath drowning out the pounding of my heart as i tried to quiet myself into the stillness of the amazon.

 

they’d invited me here

given me stories of love

but that’s all they were. stories to cover their chains. chains and blood and misery. i sliced through them with paper cuts and tears, fleeing into the middle of what they would not see.

choices, choices.

they’d made theirs.

it moved, the sky, and i realized i was going the wrong way.

or perhaps. true north never was very true.

could they lie so perfectly?

i drove a stake into my heart to hush it. not now. i needed to think. needed to breathe.

 

their voices came closer, closer, words almost but not.

would they stop at the gate? the gate, the gate they’d paraded in front of us all, mocking our chained gait, waving their red flags to hide the truth. behind crowds and chants, mindless distraction and chemistry.

we didn’t listen.

we chose too.

 

at the gate now, their rattling grating on my nerves. so close their words made sense, scraping down my spine and making my teeth ache.

i would not go back. inside me, they spoke, we will not go back.

i nodded in agreement, branches scratching my face and arms.

moving in nanoseconds and held breaths, i peeked around the black bark of the tree. everything painted black in the absence of the moon, they appeared as foreign things, standing with too long limbs, too large heads, rounder than seemed right.

at the gate.

they moved like they had no joints, too limber, too broken. eyes shining like an animal’s as the lights they carried caught them in the face. hissing and guttural anger issued through the clearing.

backs to me now.

they left.

left me to my choice.

i sighed into the tree at my back, tension rolling off my skin like springs falling out, leaving me lifeless and warm.

but there was no escaping what lived inside me now.

 

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Shadow Poetry

I’m Not Waiting Any Longer

And I sit there on the floor

Legs not crossed like a lady

But crossed like I’m four again

Sitting at school on the carpet

Waiting for the teacher to explain.

 

Okay, I’m ready.

For you to let down your wisdom

Breathe the secret into my ear

Pull back the curtain

Ignite the barren emptiness

Of not knowing

 

Only

I sit there, on the floor

Waiting

Rubbernecking like nobody’s business

Wholeheartedly believing

Now I’ll understand

Now it’ll all make sense

I’ll get it

Understand

I’ll know what this life is all about

What I’ve been missing

 

I’ve lived into my how-to manual

People will come rushing through the terminals

Hard earned years of enlightenment

They’ll bustle in their hurried fever

Of needing to get on with their lives

Because they have so much to live

What, with all that understanding

Due to age…

 

Only

I sit there, on the floor

Realizing the room is empty

It’s a stage with polished floors

And vaulted ceilings

Rows and rows of chairs

The nice cushy ones you might’ve fought your grandpa for

When you were four years old

 

I look around and see

The lights are off

I’m the only one on the stage

The crowd is empty

Those nice soft seats, void of any life

Any know-how to impart

 

That’s the first lesson I really learned

About everyone else,

Outside of my skin.

It didn’t knock off any innocence

I wasn’t shiny or brand new by then

That got rubbed off before I could speak

But I’d kept some silly hope that when you said

“When you’re older you’ll understand”

…that you spoke the truth.

 

You did not.

The truth is

No one knows.

 

I found this out, sitting cross-legged

Like a child

Vibrating with enthusiasm

And excitement

Ready to warm my hands

At the fire of everyone’s experience

 

With the heat of age

That’d crept into my body

That everyone told me, made me

Better, somehow

Like numbers of lived life

Ups your worth in some cosmic game

And so you earn more lives

And redeemable information to trade

For a bunch of useless tasks, you performed…because….

 

Still sitting on an empty floor

Holding a ticket that leads nowhere.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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Photo is property of Daphne Shadows