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Weedkiller

21 Mar

World Poetry Day?

How did I miss it?

Maybe ’cause it’s a UN thing, and I’m not much good at keeping up with my own calendar, let alone the United Nations’ agenda.

Here’s my contribution, originally written back in 2000, revised in 2009:

WEEDKILLER

a seed pod that's also a burr  (c2014, KB)

a seed pod that’s also a burr (c2014, KB)
[Niece #1 is the hand model for this photo]

She is a choking vine,
twining my limbs,
wrapping my throat,
squeezing my strength
as if I am the soil that succors her roots.

I was, at first,
a sympathetic, willing trellis,
thinking my role temporary,
like a stake to guide a sapling,
but she will not let go.

Sun and shade equally strike,
yet she claims the lesser share,
complaining her weakness, her lack,
her compromise—
shadowing me as she seeks more light.

I am dying,
throttled by her need.
Freeing my hand, I tear at her tendrils;
broken stems bleed on my skin.
Remnants of her cling to my clothes.

She cries her shock and anger,
pleas the length of friendship,
but I reck not her arguments,
turn from her tilting form,
and say, “Stand.”

c2000, KB

The poem is based on a real friendship, a real series of conversations, a real turning away.

She and I are still friends. It’s not the same, though, nor should it be. She leans on others more, and she’s standing more on her own. I am proud of my friend. Yet there are times when these old attitudes slip through, as if we others are somehow responsible for her choices, her life. Not that she follows our advice, really, but we are an excuse.

Sometimes I see this thinking taking hold in my own life, and have to be ruthless cutting it out. It doesn’t belong. I will be grateful for the friends and the help I receive, and not blame them when life turns sour.

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