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That I should seek to hurt has never been
the truth of me, but needs I must slice through
this skin wrapped tight that I might breathe and win
some small new capacity; and there you
stand convenient, holding to a future
happiness that will not tolerate my
currency. I gaze upon your stature
and find none of me. Now you’ve laid us by,
reduced my choices to a larger hope
or none, the yes of who I am or naught.
Lose, you say, that exclusivity, grope
beyond the casing of the shell that’s caught
you, bullet-like. Your words reverberate
inside this chamber, mocking: it’s too late.


Author’s Note: I debated with myself whether or not to post this poem, as there is a tendency, I find, in the poetic community to assume that the emotional states depicted are those of the poet. This simply is not true. What I write of love, joy, and absurdity are my true states. The rest, like this one, are a novelist’s indulgence. Sensing a character’s inner state by means of poetry is rollicking good fun and practice. I’m also seriously blissed at the moment because I’m reading a book called Living With Shakespeare, and feel like I’ve wandered into a master class, only no one’s noticed yet to kick me out. It also explains my current run of sonnets, a form that used to send me running fast in the opposite direction.

© Elaine Stirling, 2014