Featured Poem 9/22/02:

from Things I've Never Told Anyone

Often I Stay up Late Enough

Often I stay up late enough to become part house — a sound with no answer, a book unshelved, a clock unwinding. More likely floor, the window, rthe junk drawer, every house has one. I feel comfortable as wall paper, a leg of chair or table, the overgrown hassock protected even at night from its fear of summer sun. I'm never the faucet. I'd like to be the spider sleeping in the window sill, a remote control, a lmp near the TV. Your keys, the bed happy tossing and turning. Or at midnight what's become yesterday's newspaper. Or I could be shelf, bedstand, fan. Often when it is late, I am not choosing. I am sliding into being what is closest, what touched me last, something I hear. Mostly I'm being housed. Such little time to house. And I am always thankful when I am not roof.

Why I am not a Woman

I am working on a poem about why I am not a woman when it occurs to me I need a better title. Something not so obvious. So, I change it to Why I am not A Man and go on like that for a while. Then I change it to Why I am not a Man or a Woman. I try to settle on Why I am not a Man When I am a Woman. And I wonder, need I add Why I am not a Woman When I am a Man. I am a man. I am told that I am but I am wondering if more often than not I could be a woman. Not that I should be. Not that I really would be. Then I remember something my mother's mother always said: there are some things better left unsaid. Like the time I tried on my older sister's full-hooped slip and it slid off as I had no hips. And it's not that I wanted to be a girl, it's just that I wanted to be my sister.

I've Never Told Anyone

                                                    how I am trying to learn to return home with myself. If you have ever tried this you know what I mean. I don't think it's an American thing, a Buddhist thing, a Catholic boy thing. If you have ever tried, you know what I mean — what you come home with, what you don't. It happens all the time. Some times you notice, sometimes you don't. If this has ever happened to you, you know what I mean.

                                                                               Sometimes you go back out, you find yourself. Well, that's how it happens for me. And you? I don't mean to put words in your mouth — perhaps we could work together, discover ways to come home with ourselves. I know you know what I mean. So let's solve this. You're coming home, right? Perhaps you're in a hurry, the light changes, you stop or go, the road turns or it doesn't. Eventually, you are home. But sometimes you know, right? I mean you know if you've both arrived or not. So, you're thinking, whose garage is this, whose garage door is this. You push the button. The door goes up. But beyond that you don't think much.

                            Once, last fall, I was at supper and I realized I wasn't there, just for a split second and I don't think anyone noticed, but eventually they will and either you explain or you don't. You just stop trying. You don't worry about arriving home with yourself anymore. Instead, you go to bed early, dream of yourself, out there, somewhere, dreaming there, dreaming of yourself dreaming of arriving home with yourself.

© C.X. Dillhunt

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