Barbara Gabriel, Mothballed

Barbara Gabriel

My throat constricts with thoughts of lies told
One. Word. At a time.
Chief among them: I love you.

Examining his face I hear
a single, crashing heartbeat.

Receiving no response,
shrug rounded shoulders
for having chosen unwisely, impatiently.

What follows?
Years of silent conversation,
planets out of alignment.

Pretending babies are an answer
to questions unasked.

Except in secret, whispered
between winter sweaters and ivory gown
mothballed in suffocating plastic.

Author’s Comment: The ways that women navigate social and cultural conventions is an ongoing fascination for me as a writer. The lies we tell others, the lies we tell ourselves in order to fit within those confines can force us to choose a path which promises security but ultimately becomes punishment. We can be preserved and silenced by our choices.

Bio: Barbara Gabriel is a poet, writer and salvage artist who has been gathering writing material for fifty years while impersonating a chef, cruise director, ice cream scooper, sailor, child advocate, landscaper, package designer, dive master, log cabin builder, and a really bad waitress. She grew up in Minnesota along Highway 61 and has traveled, lived and eaten her way through the Americas, Turkey, North Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. She has been published in the online journal of topical poetry “Poetry24” and most recently in the “American Society: What Poets See” anthology (FutureCycle Press). She currently calls Portland, Oregon home.

12 thoughts on “Barbara Gabriel, Mothballed

  1. I am late getting here to read this poem, but I want to say it is so true, Barbara, and said so well.,Preserved and silenced – sad but I know women this phrase fits. I am happy to see your work here, and I am pleased that you were once my student. Now I think the student could teach the teacher.

    • Thank you so much, Glenda. You are still a great mentor to me: not only encouraging and supportive but creating an atmosphere in your Writers Circle workshops where new poets & writers can stretch.

  2. Hi Barbara – Heidi from class. This was the first poem I saw when I googled–that’s when I knew how talented you were🙂 Love the last stanza & especially the last line. Looked for you on FB but no luck. My last name: Kolly Shipka

    • Heidi~ Thank you for looking me up & welcome to Wild Goose Poetry Review. Appreciate your comments very much. Hope to see your work here soon.
      PS. No luck on FB for me either😦.

  3. Hi Barbara, this is Michelle from class. I saw Heidi’s note and just wanted to say that if you are setting up a group I would love to be part of it.

    • Hi Michelle, Thanks for finding your way here. Check back on the class discussion board (lesson 12)- there’s a heading there for Poetry group, and 2 comments about how to reach us.

  4. Hey, Barbara—Margyo from class—please count me in as part of the group. Great idea. Tried to find you on FB but a few with your name. I am Margy Hood Olmstead if you’d like to friend me and we will be in contact. Thank you!

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