guilt

you have appeared to me in many forms.
today you hide in winter-themed covered packages
and exhale murkiness when i untie holiday ribbon–
you follow me like flies on horse shit. old friend,
your shadow often backpacks alongside mine
whispering my wrongs, reminding me of what
i could not do, what i cannot do–and you bask
in my frustrations, insisting that i can still be
redeemed, i can still fix things, i can still be loved.
like a spell that catholics murmur in the hour of their death,
i ask you to leave me be–
now and forever.

closed off

free, like the free glass of water at a fancy restaurant, the kind of place where everyone puts a cloth napkin on their lap and speak in small voices.

free, like the birds who fly with their families to revisit their old homes in hopes of escaping the cold breath of winter.

free, like the bubbles that pounce on the air without wondering about their size, their color, their shape, their lifespan.

free, like the ocean who is not allowed to flirt with cities, towns, or people because she might love them too much and devour them.

free, like redeemed coupons, but not really, because the cashier says the free soft drink is only available with the purchase of a #7, it says so in the fine print. Sorry, she grumbles, chicken nuggets are not included.

do i really want to be free?