Molting Skin

please leave me alone tonight

it’s time for me to tackle
the high mountain of my soul –
reach into the deep caverns of my heart,
pull out my deepest fear,
place it slithering on an empty chair across a table
set for tea for two:

i will wrap my hands around
heated porcelain, examine blue corneas,
take a long steamy sip, molting skin
talking and talking and talking

the truth spills out in a hush:
this snake suns in the shine
of my smile every day, this snake
sings merrily as it swims down
my arteries, quivering, alive,

i try to write it all down before i forget
but the words keep spilling,
keep cooling, disappearing,

the tea is over, and
i sleep more soundly than ever.

Fallen Petals by Alice B. Johnson (1958)

I hope you enjoy the following poem by my great-grandmother Alice B. Johnson (taken from her book, Where Children Live, 1958)

Fallen Petals

I cannot see the brown earth turned
Upon white petals gently blown
Upon the ground where I should spade
My garden plot. Have I not learned
I must not waste one precious day
Of spring? Somehow it will not stay
And wait for seeds that should be sown –
Why MUST I let my heart be swayed
By fallen petals of yesterday –
Why can’t they gently blow away?