How Does Empathy Feel?

Do you ever suddenly realize that
beneath the shields our brains project over us,
there is skin,
and beneath that skin is blood,
and muscle, and then, deeper still is
bone, and then beneath that is
a heart?
A wet heart, a red heart,
beating and mute?

Do you ever feel suddenly human,
that impermanence and flaw,
when you read the words of another person and find
yourself in them
and it makes your knees ache a little
and your elbows,
(maybe that’s really where we’re connected after all,
in the bony fragile places,
in the hot wet tissues,
in the tendons and nerve endings –
maybe that’s where a human lives,

and dies)
?

©K Paige Medina | 06 March 2018

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Medusa in a Mirror

Female anger sanitized by a male expression
The undulating danger of the monstrous made feminine,
Medusa in a mirror,
The gorgon in the blood,
The nefarious banal,
The shimmering echo of the demon in the throat,
Choked once more into sobriety
By Adam—
Giver of Names,
Arbiter of Shame,
Blameless Judas,
Are you still the only one who can tame
The witch in the woman,
Bottle the marid,
Set fire to the madwoman’s ghost,
And tell her to sit still?

That lick of insolence when you take a woman’s anger into your mouth –
Speaking a spell you don’t believe in –
Boy of flesh,
You have never understood the femininity of ragnarok
But I have.

Beneath the half-lit gas lamps of living in your world,
I, Woman, have bound myself to what is true,
Learning to distrust the light,
I have welcomed only stars, only moon,

Only the way my own eyes glint in mirrors,
When, once again,
You have come for my head.

 

©K Paige Medina 15 September 2017

Before Rain

What is it about cloudy springtimes that prophesy some
tenuous complicity,
some unpardoned infliction?
Perhaps it is the flowers,
blooming silently in their waxy delicacy,
peering with expectation
at the watery gray delight of sky-borne promises.
Is it rather crows,
roaming the spaces between sky and earth,
calling primal, undignified,
the ugliness of their songs
like water filling porous rocks–
an erosion of sound,
an inkblot on the wind?

Is it trees, leafy, burdened with
green and bustling purpose,
fluttering noisily in northern breezes
and then, just before dusk,
are ominously,
expectantly,
silent?

 

Is it the nearness of faces,
awash in the crispness of gray light and thunder
yet unspoken,
bundled to eyes in black clothes,
walking hurriedly,
conspicuous eyes made of a curious haste,
darting every so often
toward the clouds?

©K Paige Medina 19 April 2017