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Secrets / / Reflections

I never understood the feeling in my stomach
When witches and monsters came
On the TV. For years I thought
They made me afraid,
But that feeling below my heart
Was different from the one I felt when
The gnarled hands of the tree scraped
Across my dark bedroom door.

When I went to college I fell in love
With a girl who did not love me. I shut
Every offensive part of me away, desperate
To be soft and beautiful for her, to hide
My hard edges and the skeletons
In my closet.

When she finally left, the bottle in the
Back of my throat uncorked,
And the anger and the fear that I’d
Hidden away all swarmed to the
Surface, a maelstrom of demons
Desperate for the light after a decade
Kept hidden in the darkness.

I met a witch on the edge of town,
A cliché in a run-down camper with
A light-up fluorescent sign advertising
FORTUNES TOLD. In her eyes I saw myself
Reflected, and when I asked her to
Tell me my future, she took my hand and smiled
And said we’d have to figure it out together.

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