Ashley Wilda

Author

in progress: a study

clay on my hands, grey, cold

colder than expected, pleasant

against my skin. wedge the clay, palms

squishing it into itself, spiral, spiral

fold, drop, toss into a ball, hand to hand

pat pat, pat pat. slam onto center

of the wheel, wham down twice

with my palm. start the wheel

dip my hands in the water, luke-

warm, cup the clay and squeeze

squeeze, squeeze–fingers pressing

pulling it up, up into a shaking cone

pushing it back down, down, side

of my right hand pressing, left

hand supporting. thumbs press down, in

rhythm, slow, not too thin, not too

fast. pull out, pull up, knuckle braced

on thumb, fingers slowly grasping

caressing the earth into fluid

motion, making something out of

something that was once

something that was once

nothing that was breathed into

life a long, long time ago.

it is not easy this, spinning

balance, this finding the still point

exactly in the middle

and shaping everything around it

centered. it tips and wobbles and

lurches beyond repair and I

squish it all into a shapeless lump

and start again, clay squishing between

my fingers, until something

emerges, something that has

worth, something I can make

beautiful. but I guess this raw earth

this handful of cool, grey clay

has worth by simply being

by simply having the potential

to be something more–

and so it already is.

this is the first thing I’ve learned

for me and only

me and I breathe and it calms

the always unsteady sea inside

of me. and yet as I press and

smooth and cup and

shape, as my fingers glide over

nothing becoming

something, I cannot help but

think of you

and think of how I can’t help

wanting to give you something

beautiful.

continue: a portrait

every so often

I sit down

say–

I’m tired

I’m so

so tired–

and it’s true.

I cry.

quietly, usually

loudly, sometimes

hug myself tight

tighter

because I won’t

let anyone else

do it for me.

I dry my eyes.

I get up.

I walk.

I tell no one.

Sorry…?

I’ve gotten so used

to doing things alone

I’d rather continue

to do them alone

eat and wash and

work and make

walk and sleep and

cry and pray.

I’m tired of being with others

always wishing they were you

easier to be alone than keep

my armor up, make sure they can’t

come too close, arm’s length

double is better

easier to live alone without

others’ emotions messing with mine

touching the tender places

bumping up against walls

they don’t even know are there

that I won’t take down.

You say don’t wait

But I can’t in the ways

You want me to.

I want a brighter life

I will reach, I am

reaching for it

There are glimmers

I am relearning to savor

things that are sweet.

But there are limits–

I’d rather be alone than with

someone who isn’t you.

spirit

I am the girl

They can never catch

A smile disappearing around the corner

A voice fading on the breeze

Bare feet on the dirt path

Haunted eyes in the trees

I’ll never understand

Why they want to get to know me

They’ll never understand

How I can’t forget

no.

you were the first

person

anything

that enabled me

to say no.

no.

a delicious

dangerous

empowering word.

one syllable

heavy like

a bomb blast.

they said let you go.

I said no.

my love is mine

to give or withhold.

I’d never dared to risk

displeasure

disapproval

not in the end

for the final

decision, only courting

the idea

of rebellion.

you are still gone

but no comes easier

staying rooted

in myself

not believing I always

must be wrong

if they say

I am

because I say no

every day

holding on to love

holding on to you.

siren

I don’t feel terrible

Not as terrible as I know

it can be

But I keep returning to my bed

legs slipping back under

pleasantly rumpled sheets

like my feet don’t know

a path that doesn’t

lead back to warm, soft

shadow, comfort

denial, a cocoon from which

I never emerge

I keep finding myself there only

minutes after I leave only

mildly surprised–oh

well, I guess here I am

again.

heart of hearts

it shattered into dust

and little jagged shards

that I somehow swept up

in the palm of my hand

and squeezed into a semblance

of a crooked, crumbling sphere.

it needed walls around it

hard, unyielding, a crust never

to be breached, just to hold

it together, to protect what’s left

of the most important parts of me.

no one can get in, nothing

can get out, impenetrable

inescapable, stubborn, unwilling

loyal, afraid. but of course

you are the exception. you

are always the exception.

Ghost

 

I’m always disappearing

Slipping out of rooms

Without saying goodbye

 

Ghost

 

Unanswered text messages

Calls with no return

MIA

Radio silence

 

Ghost

 

The person who was there

And then was gone

Too silently for anyone

To notice

Lullaby

I sing it to myself when I wander

too far into myself–the first

song on the lullaby album my

mother played when I

was born, so it’d be the first

sound I’d hear.

Sleep sound in Jesus, my

baby, my dear…

I clutch the notes to me like

a safety blanket,  worn smooth and

white, a whisper of a childhood

bedroom.

They’re keeping

watch, so there’s nothing to

fear…

The last song I sing

to you when I turn off

the light

May the Lord bless you and

keep you…

squeezing my eyes

shut first so I won’t see

May the Lord make his face shine

upon you…

the darkness smother me

hoping it reaches you and

And give you peace, and give

you peace…

you’ll know who it’s from.

And give you peace

forever…

episode

lost in my own head

can’t find you can’t find you

drink honey and mint

bathe my body in lavender

curl up with the remnants

sleep this haunting away

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