By Sarah Culp

In vain, I endeavored to make my bed in the stale chambers of your heart,
But they could not hold me; you know I am claustrophobic.
Cagey, wary, I shrink from the protection of four blank walls
And a sturdy roof, for fear that they will bind me in paralysis,
That a numbness will engulf my cramped legs,
Like an anesthesia, lulling the better part of my personality into dormancy,
One small shift sends pinpricks through my sleeping limbs—
Like growing pains.
I ache. I cannot bloom.
The air inside you is stifling. Hot.
You are an oven and I am breathing toxic fumes,
In sizeable, dangerous gulps, I crave approval
From your lips and those words that leap
From your tongue like wild antelope
Threaten to trample me with cloven hooves;
I split myself apart and scatter the crumbs to the wind,
Hoping that they will align, like the stars,
A celestial trail of breadcrumbs leading me
To fulfillment.

In vain, I played the stock market with pretended nonchalance,
Crushing my silvered heart into a powder
And weighing the dust,
I invested my worth in fickleness and folly,
Take my word with a grain of salt,
For that is all I have left to give.
There is nothing left in the bank.
I am little more than a few grams
Of pulverized dreams.
The thieves in the night were welcomed
I cannot say they robbed me,
Because when they demanded money,
I left them the family heirlooms,
They commanded food and drink,
And I gave them my best wine.
Charmed, they took up residence,
Still, they have not left,
The rabble-rousers crowd my chambers,
It is no wonder
They drank the spirits and crushed my own.

Defeated, I found the numbness I used to fear,
Empty smiles and noxious praise became my libations
I am a flickering candle lighted in the window
Of a different home every day,
Flitting, fleeting.
Honeybees leap from bloom to bloom,

Drunk on the nectar of the gods,
They dance on clouds of pollen,
The essence of the blossom
Is her powdered soul,
The difference between she and I
Is that her lover gives and receives,
And I, in my foolishness, have only given,
Given, until there is nothing left
Given, because I hoped that in touching the lives of many,
Maybe someone would touch me.
But in a world starved for affection,
The blinking eyes in the thick of the forest
Are quick to gobble up the breadcrumbs you
Drop as you wander away from home
You may lose your way,
But take caution,
It is far easier
To lose you.

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