Poetry by Rebecca Smolen
hooked into flames, hypnotized against a cold, white morning filament. sitting small on the floor awakening, i snuggle up behind my son keeping his back warm, so i might feel some heat as well. my insides twist, wrenching tight like rubber bands stretched too far, just before snapping, stinging the closest thing with all the might of a big bang propelling outward. i cross my arms in front around his stomach the way he is comforted, rest my chin on his shoulder, my collarbone into his shoulder blade. i have swallowed hot-flushed anger since interrogations began. it burns up my chest, upper arms into my neck leaping to lava onto my cheeks. i begin to stare with him into the flames: the color of his hair, golden. blue; the stain on his mood and that rollercoaster among the flickerings. i don’t tell him i know this same burden everyday, how doctors rationalize, feed me pills to force me up and out most days, so that most days don’t come crashing down in on me, crumbling poorly glued ash into full-scale landslide, down, crushing me deep into the stuffing of my pillow, keeping me hostage. i don’t explain how i can feel the need, the ice in his eyes, how they beg for the something he requires. at times i can sink into the depths of his blue-grey eyes: the ocean, cold on a cloudy day, sense the undertow pulling strong, roped unto my guilty broken heart longing to look away. unblinking, my son describes he sees one of the flames; a being dancing. he then imitates the bobbing side to side, his eyes unwavering. the rhythm of the flame, the being shifts. my son asks me if I can see him too. shaped of a dog twice its size; a stubborn pet. the being is wrenching at an emberring orange-traced log tugging, heaving, straining, persistent. i do see it. our eyes can never unsee it. my brokenness can barely cradle his together in a heap. his focus is unflinching, yet a small bit of terror rises in his voice as he searches for security, assurance that there’s glass between this enraged creature and us who simply crave fleeting warmth from those anxious flames.
Rebecca is a Portland-based writer who works as a veterinary technician by day. She grew up on a dead-end road in NH exploring drainage pipes and pond-life. Using the written word, she releases a little of the intense darkness dwelling inside. She feels honored being tormented by all the what-ifs that life has to offer that fuels her written word. Rebecca has a strong feminist voice that sometimes gets trapped within society’s confines, but vows to teach her son and daughter there are no confines.
You can find her writing most recently in the Unchaste Anthology Vol.2 and Mutha Magazine.