I promise: This is the last poetry post. At least for a while. (For a point of reference, read the comments for the previous post, or visit his blog here.)
This poem received something at a contest four years ago, but I can't remember if it was in the money or only an honorable mention. (I keep very good records. Can you tell?)
The person who inspired it has read it, but doesn't know she is the subject, and many other people--men and women--have thought I tinkered with gender or circumstances, and that the poem's about them. Uh, okay. Guilty consciences?
Last year, I wrote a poem about trying to grab for our dreams before they are ready, and used the metaphor of harvesting grapes that are still green, and the writers group thought I was writing about sex. I told you poetry was subjective.
She is a choking vine,
twining my limbs,
wrapping my throat,
squeezing my strength
as if I am the soil that succors her roots.
I was, at first,
a sympathetic willing trellis,
thinking my role temporary,
like a stake to guide a sapling,
but she will not let go.
Sun and shade equally strike,
yet she claims the lesser share,
complaining her weakness, her lack,
shadowing me as she seeks more light.
I am dying,
throttled by her need.
Freeing my hand, I tear at her tendrils,
feeling the sticky wetness of broken stems.
Remnants of her cling to my clothes.
She cries her shock and anger,
pleas the length of friendship,
but I reck not her arguments,
turn from her tilting form,
and say, “Stand.”