Poetry by Kim Fahner: What I am not…
What I am not…
I am not an angel
You say that I am,
in passing, standing theatrical on
a cracked downtown sidewalk,
all out of your right mind,
marinated in a few pints of beer.
You say ‘angelic’ and ‘too good to be true,’
gather me in, and then hold for too long,
a drowning man looking for salvation
in the scent of lavender soap on skin.
I cringe, curl up fiddlehead,
smell booze on your breath—
can tell truth is something you don’t know.
Curve into spiral of myself, pull away,
sure to fall from such imagined heights,
these pale arms reaching, empty,
for promised light.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me
There’s a woman in the attic
with a wedding dress on fire,
and then there’s me:
feet on the earth, glad of grounding,
dirt caked on the soles of my shoes.
There’s a dress, tiny waisted, small,
a net into which she fell, and
was trapped: chemise first, then corset—
all whalebone pain and sculpted waist.
Charlotte’s dress: all stitched up
blue floral cotton, boxed and labeled,
ticketed to tourists, glassed in—
the sure sum of the equation
of her literary life.
And there were hems, and corsets, petticoats and crinolines,
men’s names taken to put words on the page, and
silk parasols collapsing like lungs in need of breath—
desperate for air and a bird without a cage.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me;
I am a free human being with an independent will.