By Sara Pridmore Bailey
The world is made of broken pieces:
Broken bodies, broken minds,
Broken spirits, broken dreams.
Collect all the pieces.
Take your time
Putting it all back together.
The cracks will always be there.
Some wounds never heal.
Cracks make us who we are?
Who we are – no, what we are –
Some of us beyond all repair.
Can a butterfly fly with broken wings?
Can a bird with a broken neck sing?
But hell, broken is the norm around here
So smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
And have a shot on me.
Wear your scars like a smile
And pretend you’re happy to survive.
Pretend every breath doesn’t hurt
And every heartbeat isn’t agony.
You wanted to see me naked
So here I am, laid bare,
Bleeding my thoughts and feelings
Across the page in ink
Made blotted and blurry by tears.
I opened a vein for you
And look at what spilled out –
The ugly truth of an exposed soul
Scarred with sin, with shame, with sorrow,
Nursing wounded pride.
Feast your eyes on my flaws,
On my innate inadequacy.
Drink in my imperfections.
This is the me unaltered.
My anger, my pain, my jealousy
Are all on display.
Was this what you had in mind?
The sky is the softest shade of grey,
Not stern or stoic, but sympathetic.
The leaves turn their flaming faces away,
Muting themselves out of consideration.
The sky sheds tears for me,
Droplets that patter softly against my windshield.
My soul is untethered.
I am without purpose or plan or path,
A shadow, a shade, a shame.
My eyes meet my own in the rearview mirror.
Seized by sadness, a spasm of a sorrowful smile
Slips across my lips.
I am but a floret
Floating, falling, fearing failure.
I drive to escape the inescapable.
I know who I am, who I’ve been.
I drive to find out who I’m meant to be.
In the fall, my daughter
Cracks acorns open with pliers,
Searching fervently for a grub,
Hoping to find one nestled there,
Plump, soft bodied, and pale.
As she cradles its dingy white body
In her palm, she does not care
What it will become –
A June bug, a dung beetle, a chafer –
She thinks only of what it is now,
Engrossed in her efforts, she casts
Empty acorn husks aside,
Squealing with glee when she hits pay dirt.
She gathers a few grubs together,
Names them, forces them to be a family…
“This one is the daddy…”
She talks to them, wags them around,
Wallows them to death,
Then discards their broken bodies.
As she moves on to fruitlessly forage
For frogs, I think to myself that
No grub was ever so loved.
It’s just me and the moon again.
As I sit on the steps in a puddle of cold light,
The darkness of night surrounds me;
It feels thick and heavy and dangerous
As it presses in. I hide out here with
My loneliness. The winter moon,
So far away and frosty; the prickle of
The cold night air; the smooth, bitter
Taste of a cigarette; and the nicotine that
Permeates my pores – these are the comforts
That I cling to. Alone in a world full of people,
Thoughts crowd into my head, so I escape
Outside where the cold quiets my mind.
About the Author:
Sara Bailey received her B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric from the University of Central Arkansas and her MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in fiction from Murray State University. The majority of her writing is fiction or poetry, but she has also tried her hand at nonfiction and screenwriting. Her work has been published in New Madrid and Torrid Literature Journal, and her poetry will be included in the fall edition of Big Muddy.