Hide and Seek as a Way of Life

Her hunger like a secret wanting oxygen, is hiding
  as she crouches, 
  considering it wasteful to truly disappear, as others require her- 
Curiosity nags her careful and considered breaths
  and she hasn’t the ardor to say no to the children
  so she seeks concealment.

In the time it takes to count to one hundred, 
  the probe can be postponed.

{What does this wish want and how can I soothe this relentless ache?}

She can conjure what ease would feel like–is it like sun in the late afternoon or mist in the morning?
She can envision herself able to stretch and liquefy to suit all comers.
She can pretend she has no needs
and truly be the woman who is neither despised nor idolized.

            When she was a child, there was a designated spot beside her house.
            Overgrown and scratchy, but fully occupied when flight was necessary.
            There was advantage in a quick escape and well constructed stories.

            As a young woman, she tried (as young women do)
               to eschew all camouflage and speak her desires to the sky.
            At her own hand and by a mob of well wishers and ambulance chasers, 
               she derived one message:
            There is a price to pay for want.
                Being demanding results in punishments of all sorts
                and pleasures only visit, but do not get comfortable.

            Aging past the need for pleasing, 
              there are moments when her worth is not tied to approval.
            Her thoughts charge like starved bulls
              and whatever she feels, just is–

           There is unforeseen validation in her expansion.
           Crowds and those dear encourage a loose tongue–
              although the lessons of voice and restraint
              get no easier, her resiliency grows with the years.

           Love arrives and is followed by domesticity, 
             long dreaded and surprisingly lovely.

           No one hinders her now–
             but she must be vigilant about too much competence
             and making vulnerability an enemy.

When she is found, 
and she always is-
the abatement almost looks genuine.
She sighs and releases the questions like a child lets go of a balloon–
  relunctantly and with a tinge of sorrow.

When she requires the use of herself, 
she rises to her full height
and begins again.

-Kristen Chapman Gibbons



PoetryJulia NusbaumComment