jon oropeza CC
Such strange people, my parents,
to have raised me, yet be like strangers,
two-dimensional cardboard cutouts,
stick puppets, caricatures,
stiff performers with scripts and contracts.
See them enter stage left,
play their parts with painted-on faces
There is the so good to see you face,
the oh so sorry you haven’t been feeling well face,
the I don’t know what you’re talking about, that’s not true,
you shouldn’t feel that way, we’re just human,
let’s keep things light face.
We all pick up our scripts
First, we discuss the weather, then I nod with interest
as they talk about distant relatives who are still sharp,
or had surgery, or are dead.
Any direct addressing of how the other makes one feel
will result in the I do not see you face.
Of course, they were born and raised in an age
when no one questioned being a cutout,
whole families bobbing along with their masks,
generations of stick puppets on the ferris wheel of time,
smiling sickly from their cabins,
round and round for centuries.
To my knowledge,
their living thoughts and feelings, a mystery,
but what is scripted, etched in my very cells.
And I am too corporeal, too three-dimensional,
from the moment I was born, a well
of colic and bile and joy and rapture.
My heart lives in a cavern
deep in feeling, I cannot flatten,
and so, I was and am and always will be a threat,
an ocean, a fire yearning to flood, to engulf,
to consume, to love.
Erin Olson is a licensed professional counselor and former teacher. She lives in southeastern Wisconsin with her husband, son, cat, and a burgeoning permaculture garden. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Neologism Poetry Journal, Amethyst Review, Last Leaves Magazine and Sky Island Journal.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.