Still

Got to share this poem at a cozy little spoken word open mic this week:
Still

Still

 

I still say I’m just having a hard day but it has been

years and years so now I’m thinking maybe this

is what emotional hording

looks like
This girl who refuses to grow out of fear

or a fear that just keeps growing to fit me
So I still dread the phone ringing

Most days I still anticipate the freak accidents

Still convincing myself not all

nightmares are premonitions

But I wake up some mornings still digging for

you in the ceiling tiles

still searching for you in the drains

begging the sinks to show me your face

I’m still leaving knuckle skin dented

into walls till they talk

till they give you back and they still

have nothing to give me

but apologies

I still wear mountain ranges on the inside

of my breastplate just so the echo of my heartbeat

makes me feel less alone but my heart is still

a deaf lake in a valley

I still ache in the sunlight from

the last time I saw your necklace glisten

I still listen in the moonlight for the gravestones

to answer my rhetorical questions

For a hallelujah whisper coming through

the windpipe I keep trying to breathe

I still surround myself with air as if I have a choice

Here I am still alive

Still talking about my pain as if it’s more

important than yours

Still hiding my sadness under turtle shells cause I

think it’s way past time to move on

I still watch Christmas lights flicker like tiny movie screens

hoping for alternate endings

I still drown myself into radio waves like they could

drift me to some other shore

I still wait for the floor to fold in on itself

I still hold some version of ourselves underneath

my fingernails and I still wash my hands

raw

I still take every turn like it could

be the last

I still walk around with windshield glass

piled up in my shoes because there’s still

a car crash in my knee caps

every time I kneel down to pray

I still pray for you

to forgive me

for not praying for you

in time

There’s still a line about you in

every poem like one of these days

one of these words is gonna make me feel okay

I keep thinking history

is just a toy train going around on the top

shelf of a deli gift shop

I still watch for tragedy to come round

like a carousel horse

head held high

neck a twisted taunt in my direction

wild antique eyes

lips peeled back in a brown toothed smile

giddy

and laughing

after all this time I still

feel it coming ominous

I still fear it

 

©Ellen K Smith

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