Love Cage

When you can’t keep what you love
you grow up twisted
Your heart sprouts at an angle
partially escaped
from the ribcage

Sometimes it leaves your body
and wanders around the world
in the guise of music
a soulmate
a cherished homeland at last
expanding your puny spirit
into a vast, supportive web
of joyful relevance
blissful belonging
suddenly severed
by parental cruelty
irrational denial
the soulmate’s deception, abandonment
the harsh limitations of miles by the kilo
and feeble dollars

Heart slaps rudely back into your chest
like a mildly rotted
rough cut of meat
tether pulled abruptly short
breathing painful
shallow and labored
ribcage cracked

When you can’t keep what you love
you grow up twisted
Love means loss
and you avoid loss
at all costs
but you violate your word again
falling weak again
cursing malevolence
dishonoring what was always yours
love
until you come to mistrust
its musky scent
muscles taut again
in pre-emptive wincing

When you can’t keep what you love
you grow up starving
a brittle skeleton
eternally thirsty
unsatiated
a steady stream of nourishing liquid
falling straight through
your parched jawbone and dehydrated pelvis
to the cracked earth beneath
your bleached metatarsals

Until one day
wisdom
and green, persistent breath
allow your dry bones
to moisten and stick
grow flesh, give form
to tissues
relaxing
gently guiding the heart back into place
steady rhythm
unmangled and strong
fierce protected
ribs closing like tender petals at night
just in time

‘cause when you can’t keep what you love
you grow up
twisting others.

© S. Rinderle, 2013
Published in Catching Calliope, Spring 2014.

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3 thoughts on “Love Cage

  1. Beautiful imagery, Sooz, and powerful theme. That first stanza I keep reading over and over. I can see it and feel it. The bone metaphor and repeated “twisted” really works for me, especially the twist (pun intended) at the end. I can hear this being a powerful spoken piece!

  2. Thanks Nance! I really appreciate your feedback. I like the bone theme too (“cage” in the title is partially referring to the ribs…which I find popping up a lot in my work lately). Indeed it’s pretty awesome as spoken word, I really feel like I can get inside it (pun intended 🙂 ). Its debut was last Saturday during my feature and I received the best compliment to date — my idol Jessica Helen Lopez jumping to her feet after I ended, yelling, and immediately coming over to tell me how badass it was — my paraphrase! :).

  3. Pingback: I’ve been published! | Purple Lyrics

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