I’m coming closer to allowing
my thoughts their nature as
a fabricated, animated paisley.

At depths designed
and measureless, I roll
out days in meters, first
abstracted by desire, then
choosing, made attirable.

Because I am both tailor
and the maker of my sails,
I let the barnacles of
disconnected metaphor
attach their frisky selves
to whichever barge, canoe
or carpet takes their fancy.

I am we, and we are all,
by the grace of a grand
slipstream, traveling
for free;

and should I spy
a seahorse in the way
you curl away

convinced you’ve
joined the wingnuts of
predictable thinkers in a
bucket, growing colonies of
rust and backwardness, I shall
pay my respects to your iron age
ways and sail away, ignoring any urge
to acidify your jubilation, much less
suggest it’s time you grew to bronze.

And when my animated paisley,
as all patterned chaos will, attempts
to polarize to stripes or dots of black
and white, or if I catch a glimpse of
epaulets, encroaching remnants of
defense, I’m free to shred or bolt.

What I resolve to never do
within or out—the only dotted
line of paisley I’ve agreed to sign—
is stoop to understand the nature
of a pattern that appalls, repels,
a you that’s not rolled out for me.

Muddied dye is the only
tragedy—and even still,
all things once over-stirred
by memory and grudge will
find their way, if undisturbed,
to juvenate and rise again;

and all the ages, bitter,
sweet, that I have been
and ages yet to be, will
carry on unfurling placidly.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014