And then the Frost Came

The clouds drank in ravens
making the pines lucid.
His shadow fell beneath
the sky. If she listened
closely, she could hear
his melodic cadence
delivering soliloquies
adrift on the wind.

He as he was
She as she became
wake. Aware.
Taking color and form.
Both somewhere between
what was there.
What’s not there. (What
was never there)

Someone you think you 
remember and can’t
quite forget.
Lost mail belonging on someone
else’s kitchen table.

The parenthesis enclosed.
No comma, no pauses.
Time takes away. Gone
in an instant particles
of the past.

She stays.
(She can’t stay)

Tired from this slow
burning off of yesterday.
That which was lost (never was)
will not become again.

She always thinks she
see gleams of him,
The one she thought
she knew,
glimpsed and then gone.

The heart can only be
deceived for so long.
The stem decimated,
drowning in crushed rose petals.
No longer powerless
to the storm.

Wind that never really
blew for her.
Easier now to withstand
His presence merely less,
but no longer wholly more.

His shadow falling,
falling into dust.
The only sound she
hears in this moment is her
voice turning into
an early frost.

To every poem there is
a time and season.
Seasons that coagulate
into lost years,
time wasted.

In this one, she scourges
the past with lyrical ease
The breeze no longer
contradicting itself.

Her pen drops ink
of ice, no longer
pointing to the sky.
The view always distorted
anyway. The final chapter
written. She no longer
cares about heart revisions. 

-Tosha Michelle

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Love

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She tries it on,
like a dress
She twirls
in the mirror.

It’s beautiful and
compliments her form.
Gloved fit
She knows this is the one

She can’t wait to take
it home, but then
she notices the hem
unraveling.

And how restrictive
it is around the chest.

The way the color
seems to mock her cool tones.

She sighs.
So much for
the right fit.

She rips it off.
Her skin comes too.

-Tosha Michelle

Get Over It?

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Things to Get Over.

1. Hurdles, potholes in the road, stumps. The gap, you refuse to mind. The fact that you aren’t British.
2. Relatives you’ve lost to cancer, old age, depression, and alcoholism.
3. Things that ended in nothingness. The fear of being alone. The aggravation of being together.
4. Stupid love affairs the ones that terrified, and the ones that were filled with happiness The ring kept, or pawned, or thrown in his face. The one who got away. The one you wish had gotten away.
5. Childhood memories of storybooks, catching fireflies,; snow days so bright that the whole world was covered in whiteness. Your imaginary friend, named Tom, who never made fun of your coke bottled glasses, and the way you refuse to look at strangers
6. Suburban life, the ethers of banality,
7. Children growing up and the pain of letting go. The stillness of the house. The quiet you chase around every room
8. The cries for help from those you were able to reach and those you weren’t.
9. Dispossessed possessions. Substance. The absence of substance.
10.The unfound. The unfinished.
11. illusions, delusions. Daydreams. Nightmares.
12. All the seconds, minutes, hours, days, the years that pile up, the past always waiting to hear from you
13. Words that rise and fall. Transparent, sometimes luminous but that will vanish in the end.
14. The crushing reality that not everyone will like your remedy
15. Wasted time. Good intentions that grow tired.

These are a few of the things to get over. However, do we ever really get over things, or do we just learn to go around them?

Perhaps, we should savor the
things to get over. Praise what was. Our past, always there to confess. Bow to
it like a priest. Recall the shifting seasons, hoard the heart’s thorns, what hurts us can also nurture us. Just remember, the past can never be altered. Don’t stumble on your way around it. Listen for the footsteps of the future. Be ready to take its hand when it calls for you.

What good is life if we don’t use it up? Bite hard into the things to get over. It doesn’t matter if you break the skin.. Relish the pain, and then come back to today, to life, and ardently pursue the elixir, living.

-Tosha Michelle

Woman Child

I’m the woman who believes in thorns,
the beauty of fallen fruit,
and lavishing love on the lovable
and unlovable.

I’m generous, difficult, and incomplete.

I’m emotional, moody and often demanding

I have spells of sullen iciness,
and moments of hot tea and clarity.

I’m the woman who can only be
of this world for moments at a time.
My soul affixed to solitude
and one darkness after another.
When the lights finally come back on,

I confess I like a warm arm around my waist
and a strong shoulder to rest my chaotic head.
I’m also partial to masculine fingers
that know how to coax my color back,
under silk sheets, with creative words,
and hands of purpose.

I’m often confused. Do I succumb
to the screeching crow
or pay homage to the nightingale?

I’m the woman who would go
anywhere to leave you,
but will beg you to come with me.

When we get there, I’ll fight with you
over the map and then kiss you
on the street.

I’m an expert at backbends.
I practice them every night
under memory’s disco light.
I hide an extra heart under my bed
in a packed suitcase of longing.

I’m the woman waiting for good enough
to be enough. Still, always wanting
more of much. Knowing life, like art,
is what we make it.
We all deserve something more than nothing.

I’m insignificant, and at times insecure.
I’m the broken woman.
cracked, bent. Damaged.
I’m the woman becoming whole,
becoming more me with each new break.

-Tosha Michelle

The Remains 

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The ones I love,
and have been
blessed to keep,
are sleeping
as night’s low
pitch hums slowly
fades.

I walk along the lake
with only the birds
to keep me company.
The clouds sticky,
but devoid
of cotton candy,
offer no sweetness.
I move through stony colors,
a stillness in my
soul.

The water churns,
dark froth travels
in its wake.
I cry for some
inexplicable reason.

Through my tears,
I stare out into
the silence,
and think of those
who make me the happiest.
And then I wonder
about those
who have come
and gone.
The ones I have lost,
lost loves, lost friends,
a litany of history.

Memories reclaim
me for a moment.
Has life carried
them where they
want to be?
Does the dusty world
ever taunt them, too?
Do they ever
wonder why time
offers no explanation
for grief and regret?
Do they ever weep
because whatever
we’re made of,
we can never alter
the ticking clock’s
hands.

I hope that there’s
a table set somewhere
for them, and morning kisses
to greet them.

The past opens quickly,
but recedes just as
fast.

I pick a dying
wild flower from its
sidewalk home,
just as a boat
heads off into the gray,
brushed stroke
of the mist.
A lone crow
plummets toward it,
like granite.
The first faint orange
spot appears in the
sky.

Lifting my chin to the sun,
to brightness.
I discard the unbreathable,
dizzy smell of nostalgia.

I bathe in the now,
and wash my soul
in today’s syllables

Thankful for what was,
but even more grateful
for those who await
me at home.
I know without them,
the air would taste
like nothingness.

Standing on the bridge
in the space between
yesterday and today.
I walk back toward
the scent of nectar,
of happiness
Eating up the sunshine
while I still can.

-Tosha Michelle

White Hillsides and Falling Into a Leap

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Calming breath as I walk in the cold. The sky cast in a sober shade of melancholy. On the ground a thin layer of snow, lined by my footprints, creating a circle. Feet that have lost their direction. No faith in the journey. My heart blue with evening. My soul in the dark hours. My mind in paraphrase.

It’s a New Year. Time to let go of past regrets, focus on the now. Toss out our bad habits and scrawl a new list. Do I still have use for such things?

Soon January will mutate into February. Hibernation is a kind of conservation, I remind myself. I could live inside, sleep until spring comes. Let my dreams refurbishes and rehabilitate. No longer full of Cinderella wishes, but still wishful.

I’m not as young or as uncomplicated as I once was. My spirit has never been still. The future is an Edward Hopper’s painting, a lost penny on the side of the highway. Perhaps, this is what purgatory is like: the scent of falling snow, the taste of ash, the endless road of what was, the journey to what will be.

As I walk back inside. I catch a glimpse of myself in the living room window. For a moment, I see the reflection of the girl I used to be. Shy. Timid. Meek. She was always happy to linger in the hallway outside her life.

Would I go back to the days before I became unmoored,  before my life accumulate in experience, sorrows, and lessons learned? I don’t think I would. A dust free existence isn’t really living, is it? The artful dodge is only artful for so long.

Perhaps, Purgatory really is where we understand the multiplicity of self. That what’s left for us, is what we make it. Maybe I’ve been trying too hard to remove myself from the syllables. Perhaps, there’s grace in the old nouns, adjectives, and verbs, and hope in the new ones.

As I go to close the front door; I note my footprints, and how the snow looks brighter and softer in the half light. Could it be my steps have purpose, even if the heaven I’m looking for isn’t there?

-Tosha Michelle

A Mind 

A mind should implode, unfold, and behold all beauty, all monstrosities, lions, joined with lambs, with whales, the ocean, living words, flowing emotions, before the forest dies. Before the notes become too high to scale. Before the sliver coin flips over Before we realizes we are all mice and the serpent awaits.

-Tosha Michelle