poetry

In the End: Boxes and Boxes of Glass Eyes. {poetry}

 

“Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.” ~ Kansas, Dust in the Wind

“Are you afraid of dogs?” she asked, holding a ratty-looking Yorkie.

I was not, but what I did fear was the brown rabbit pelt she wore around the neck of her custard yellow cashmere sweater. What she saw as elegance was, to my eyes, nothing short of macabre. I needed a job, and this limp-haired, twitchy woman had one. 

It was sheer desperation that had me cross the threshold into that museum of a house. The air was overly warm and felt old. The heavy gold curtains in the formal living room were drawn, but I could still see the stiff Victorian chairs, the doilies and the antique piano.

Peering through the shadows from their glass eyes, seated on the chairs around a tea set, and standing by the piano, were so many porcelain dolls. Their dead eyes reminded me of the ones closely observing me through greasy eyeglasses. I had to stifle a shudder. I wanted to run, but instead I stayed.

I got the job as administrator of this woman’s business. What I became was a living witness to her tragic life. Her marriage spanned two countries, and could barely be called a union for all of the time apart. When they were together, they spat fiery words and insults at one another; the hate was thick.

Her relationship with her adult children was cold, dictatorial and strained. They could barely stand her, but they needed her, if only for her money.

The house was a box where time stood still. It wasn’t a living place. It was a monument to what was. Every corner was jammed with bits of crayon-covered paper from when the kids were in grade school. File folders were bursting with legal papers from ‘the accident’. There was the bedroom that was ‘his’, even though his sister now slept in it.

And the eyes. Boxes and boxes of glass eyes for the porcelain dolls she obsessively created.

“This one is named Andrew,” she said, pointing to a life-sized doll of a young boy wearing shorts, a t-shirt and a baseball cap.

Andrew. “Him.” The ghost. Her haunting.

There are some losses that are too much for the human heart to bear. This poem is in honor of one of them.

***

Shattered woman,
leaking soul from your lips,

What does it take to get to this place?

Leaning against neglected walls
clutching your string of pearls

The ghost of your child
is your rope of death.

Hollow woman,
bleeding, slit open
by the searing blade of loss,
love-guts long washed away by your pressure-hose tears,
you speak to me in cold whispers about your dream —
that a bullet in your head
stops your heart.
Instead, the machine inside your chest
keeps that heart beating.
Your life,
forced, moves along.

Shadow woman,
stroking the porcelain back
of your headless child-replacement,
searching through a box of eyes
so that what is sightless can see.
You are blind to the ones who still breathe.
Lifeless creations you cradle in your arms, precious,
while the ones still in warm flesh
stand crying for your love.

Husk that once was Woman,
swinging by the vapors of
a child long gone.
What is vital
sacrificed to memory.
Here there will be
no peace.

***

Since she was a little girl, Tabitha Kot has been in love with life, magic and the Divine Mystery. It has always been through the pen and conscious movement that she has found solace, freedom and a connection to something inexplicable that feeds her curiosity and inspires her to continue seeking. A tree-hugger at heart and a Yoga teacher by vocation, her inspiration comes from the simplicity of the natural world and the complexity of human dynamics. Tabitha’s work appears in Vitality Magazine, Quick Brown Fox, and The Mississauga News. You can visit her at her website.

***

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