our lady of the forest

after a while, you get used to chaos

hunched up shoulders and a crick in your neck
become the norm

while time plays no tricks
but marches on around the corner

and then you start stealing moments
gathering them up on the sly for hoarding
in a crackled lightning bug jar

so you can see them after dark

the red cardinal feeding his mate
these roses spilling blooms like confetti
this mirror that is always too honest

languish becomes a lost word
a distant memory

the life you imagined becomes
the one you are living
in stolen snippets of illumination

your heart keeps right on beating
you dance beneath the same yellow moon
you fight your way through another nightmare
to see the sun split wide the horizon

you survive

and one afternoon
you hear yourself


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