Moonflowers, like some poems, worship darkness.
They open and flourish with white beauty
in the palm of night.
See how they smother themselves
with the moon’s pallid smile.
When day is awake in its fullness,
those plants snub the sun
and close like sealed envelopes.
Rejection pricks like their hard porcupine seeds.
It scrapes layers beneath what can’t be seen.
I know rejection’s pain, the swelling in tender places.
But here I am carving sentences, banishing them
to dwell among other discarded lexicons.
Anger, apple blossoms, white cotton socks,
joy, tears, turbulence
are treated like derelict words.
They are dumped for not fitting
into the suburbia of my shiny polished poem.
I left them abandoned, struggling to survive
where hope is dependent on the economics
of convenience and memory.
I pit them against each other
like angry dogs.
The survivor’s bone is my pen.
Does this talk of struggle
and abandonment depress you?
You want a pink smile?
I can’t give you one today.
See how the sun flashes its amber teeth
after two days of hard gray rain?
My smile will shine
like that when I find a way to liberate
each rejected syllable breathing
between the pages of my word ghetto.
- Loretta Diane Walker
Published in Word Ghetto