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.
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.