Similes for the Girl with a Dreamt-Up Name

The words feel fake in my mouth, she says,
after telling us her mother died in her arms.
I stroked her until she was cold.

I do not know what to do with such a confession,
or how to hold a knife when it is given to me.
I only rub her hand until it’s warm again.

She is something beautiful, something defiant –
like a vein of lightning across the cheek of a blue sky.
Her edges are not serrated, but softened,
like the place where a wall meets a wall
and becomes a ceiling.

The words feel fake in her mouth, but in the air
they collect like dust particles caught
in a beam of sunlight.

And what else can you say? –
when the sun rises and the clock opens its arms wide
while your mother dies in yours.

She is something bold, something unflinching –
reaching out to hold the hand that hit her.
Life, I’ve learned, will kiss you one moment
and kick you the next.

She never kicks back.
I quite love her for it.

Yes, her words feel fake in her mouth, but in my ear
they grow full and heavy and real.

Like something alive, flailing in the dust.

Like a flute that is hollow
until it is filled with sound.

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9 thoughts on “Similes for the Girl with a Dreamt-Up Name

  1. I enjoyed the engaging and personal narrative style of this poem.

    And I LOVE this line:

    “Like a flute that is hollow
    until it is filled with sound”

    I’m glad you’re finding time to write poetry. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Alice! I’m glad to find the time for poetry, as well 🙂 It is my way of escaping the chaotic whirlwind of final exams and papers, retreating into a place in myself that is quiet, introspective.

  2. My dear Natalie, you are truly wearing
    your heart upon this poem and it is a
    beautiful thing, if ‘thing’ it can be called.

    This is compassion in action, to see this
    suffering in others and to want to take it
    upon one’s own breast even if we do not
    know how. To hear the words that they
    cannot feel as real, and to know them
    for the real things that they are.

    “like a vein of lightning across the cheek of a blue sky.”
    Smashing line.
    and the fourth line,”or how to hold a knife when it is given to me.”
    is quirky for its almost-out-of-placeness. It is perfect. I get it.
    I don’t think that I can really say that I ‘understand’ it, but
    under it I stand, feeling its weight upon my head, upon my shoulders,
    upon my heart. This line is one of those little glistening gems that draws us back and back to the heart of poetry.

    “I only rub her hand until it’s warm again.”
    That is often the only, and usually the best,
    thing that we can do.

    And yes, we are the hollow flutes
    filled with the sounds of our poems.

    1. Johnny, your mind is a brilliant place. I’m glad I was able to take a walk there tonight.

      I particularly love this thought: “I don’t think that I can really say that I ‘understand’ it, but under it I stand, feeling its weight upon my head, upon my shoulders, upon my heart.”

      My poem is honored to be resting upon such shoulders as yours. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For these observations and for your friendship.

Thoughts? I love those.

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