I don’t know if I should tell you more
of my story
much less how
I don’t know if you care enough to be safe
I don’t know what I fear most right now
your contempt, indifference, empathy
or silence.

How to describe this plague?
This looking out on a perfect, shiny, flowering spring
through a windowpane
drenched in rain
and tears on the inside
This trying to swim in a sparkling river
upstream, in a wool bodysuit
sopping, weighted, drowning.
Whether to convey the other shapes of me?
You see
confident, strong, smart, sexy
yes, yes, yes, yes
and to the wild furry beast
pacing in my ribcage
wide paws
scissor claws
and hungry, yellow eyes
also yes.
I forget that my skin is not translucent
and you can’t see her there
I forget you don’t have x-ray vision
and you can’t see through the thickened lead walls
that contain the detonated atom bomb
that is my life.

They say that doing the same thing over and over
expecting a different result
is insanity
but maybe it’s also faith
the one constant variable
Do I risk again?
Inviting a kind new stranger in
revealing I’m not only wide and clear and resilient
like the mirrored surface of a resting lake
but also small and blurred, prickly, asymmetrical
bouncing unpredictable
doing a courageous job of calm
wringing out all the water from my tear ducts
so that my eyes can smile.

It’s fear and love that motivate me
the fear of what I might do to others
with my claws and ionizing radiation
but also the terror of what they might do to me
the world is not kind
to honesty, difference, or awkward attempts
and you
this almost-love-not-really-never-maybe-quite
growing presence
glowing essence
I don’t need you to fix it
or solve me
I don’t even know if I want you to see
but to gently lift my chin and cradle my neck
in your capable hands
and get two breaths in
before I bob back under the current
is enough.
To slowly wipe a path
for my gaze
on this windowpane
and kiss my forehead
as it leans on the glass
will soothe.
To not recoil horrified at the sight/site
of ground zero
if I crack open this lead door
is all.

If you could lead this caged beast
out of the darkness
she’d follow you
but no one can
if you would light a candle
so she can sleep a while comforted
warmed and free of hallucination
would be better
than silence.

© S. Rinderle, 2013

Published: Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing, Issue 7.4 Depression: Acceptance, Winter 2021

6 thoughts on “Silence

  1. Whooooow! That was amazing! The repeating metaphors – water and window and caged beast. Skin not translucent to see her pacing inside. She cannot be lead but perhaps comforted – and that risk is better than silence. So much universal longing for connection and to be truly seen in our beauty and horror. This one is a gem! Truly moving and timely. Thank you!

    Sent from my iPhone

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