by Michelle Lynn
swing set chains
wipe orange rust
swing set chains
cigarette-butt doves fly
beer glass starfish sparkle
my legs kick
against a dirt sky
Swing Set Chains, a poem I wrote in my twenties when I was still angry about my life, unfair circumstances, mainly addiction- angst ridden lines vaguely lost on a page. I wrote to forget. I wrote to occupy empty time. I wrote to be alone in a house caught between unpredictable chaos and unbearable silence. I wrote for myself.
Volume after volume of fragmented childhood memories shoved on a shelf. My silent solace, a semblance of order and control if nothing else. My words have always been calculated, cautious, carefully mine. Left to yellow and harden over the passing of time.
Two decades later, tattered and torn, this is my archeological find. The words sit static as I rush to make space in my cluttered mind, and I attempt to get the words out of her with the absence of mine.
Her sterile hospital room is a far cry from the swing set of my youth, but it is still a make-shift sanctuary. A place to keep from confrontation. A place to run and hide. We both avoid erasable words written in plain sight.
Water under the bridge? Something we say when we have lost the energy to fight, or we realize that some actions are not always a matter of choice.
I AM still standing on that bridge- a gasoline soaked rag in one hand and polished skipping stones in the next.
Should I set the fire, turn to ashes, and tumble into the troubled waters below?
Should I lie down, look up, and fly into the dirt sky reflection shining above?
I know that destruction and distraction are most people's MOs, but silence and suspension have always been mine.
I am paralyzed, stuck on a drawstring bridge, a rusty swing set, not sure if I am human, fish, or bird?
Maybe just a version of my own unspoken word.