Years ago I hid behind my fear
let you float away from me.
Brown eyes and lips so full
they pleaded for acceptance
my fear refused to set my tongue free.
So I watched you go, made sure to cut all ties.
It was the only way to protect my heart from you.
The potential devastation was too much for me to step into.
I still mourn you in winter when the cold creeps in
you are the chill in the room.
The silver box, a gift given to me by an uncle
who convinced me that what ever dream I place inside
Would come true.
The same uncle who on Christmas Eve
Broadcasted Santa's demise
a crashed into the Gateway Arch,
The Saint Louis side.
When he spoke of dreams though,
his eyes held that wicked gleam
so I believed when he said,
"You can't go looking for it,"
"it will find you when you least expect it.
Just speak the dream into the box and wait.
Dreams like to surprise you when they come true."
I believed him until I was ten.
The year I turned ten a boy I liked died.
He went fishing with his father and his father,'s father,
he was the only one not wearing a lifejacket
when the boat capsized.
I had never been to a funeral before,
never dreamed the young
could die so young.
His dreams would never come true
whether he placed them in my silver box
or the box that would be his home
I had a turtle named Snapper.
I know cleaver. His carapace,
a smooth green with yellow stripes.
It was the first pet I had that was considered my own.
I never let him mingle with the family pets, I
afraid the dog would eat him
while the cat could care less.
I'm pretty sure the cat believed us to be his pets.
I took him to show and tell once.
The bully boy in my class
poked him with a pencil.
I jumped on him.
Won my first fight
ruined his bully career at the same time.
My turtle died three days later.
My classmates made an altar for him.
The former bully brought me a snicker bar
every day for a month
a form of apology.
In my childhood neighborhood
there was a dog fenced at the corner house.
He barked and charged the fence
anytime anyone came near.
His growls would appear in dreams some nights.
One day, after serving detention,
walking home from school
sure that my troubles were just beginning
I barked back at the dog
then kicked the fence to prove my fierceness.
My eyes bulged wide as he stopped mid bark
as we both watched the fence slowly creak open.
I was running before I knew it.
He chased and barked.
Fumbling for my key I tripped up the stairs
leading to my safety.
Knocked the air out of my lungs
lay sprawled on my front porch.
The growling dog stood over me
I waited for the bite,
he seemed to smile
licked my face
I cried for hours after.
I replayed my terror
still feared the dog
crossed the street whenever I had to pass
sure that the next time he
would not hesitate to bite.
When she called me a mermaid
I felt powerful
like my breath would always be in my body
in or out of water.
I found a mermaid charm
sewed her into my hair to remind myself
I can swim anywhere.
It reminds me of her on the days that I twist my locs,
or when it passes my eye,
or on any Tuesday in winter.
A sure sign I'm nervous is if I twist my rings,
or talk too fast,
or walk, or sing,
or breathe, or eat apples,
or clean my car, or write a poem,
or, or, or.
Basically I'm always nervous
I believe it's because I care.
I still have the silver box.
And while I do not believe it makes dreams come true,
I place my heart inside in hopes that if it ever finds
brown eyes or full lips,
or the memories of a dead boy
maybe when I find the love
I long to give
my heart to in the open.
I will let my future lover find it.
I will put it in her path.
We will open it together
I will no longer be hidden.
Maybe it will happen on a Tuesday