Partial Truths and the Art of Being Invisible

We show up smiling

A carefully woven rug

Thrown over scarred wood

The gauges are deep

The finish has been worn down to the grain

Where we paced, and crawled, and

Dug our nails into the wood

Trying not to get pulled again

Into the nightmare

We live in the space between

The rug and the wood

Suspended by hope

Kept down by the gravity

Of all we survived

What sudden turn of events

Will ground us deeper into the floorboards

Is it a specific cast to the lights

Or a sprinkling of laughter

The wrong kind from the wrong distance in the wrong tone

We dread what it will be

Unable to prepare for what we cannot expect

Except

That we expect it will catch us unawares

We bring our smiles and our safe stories

(We learn the hard way which ones those are)

We show up in brightly colored patterns of acceptability

Beautiful hues of vines and flowers and neat lines

While we hide invisible in

The darkness of the wood

Where we cry alone for all we’ve lost

Trying to sand out the scars

And not let anyone see under the rug

We hide the horror under mirth and song

It’s that time of year

When the ghosts of opportunity haunt us

When the rising stress of perfect food, the best lights, the mostess

Make Halloween seem like angels walking us to the gates of heaven

Maybe we stay home this time

Maybe we are too quiet and reflective

Maybe we can’t articulate why

You don’t really want to know

Maybe we leave early

Maybe we drift away without saying good-bye

It’s not for lack of love or longing or community feeling

Sometimes it’s just too much hiding for too long

And one more person we don’t want to have to explain to

And to escape from the pressure to be like everybody else

And to cocoon and hibernate

In a cave, in the dark, under a blanket

With a good book and a hot cocoa

To visit a place where we can show up whole

And dark, and imperfect, and honestly

Now you see us

Now you don’t

brown and beige living room interior
Photo by Andreea Ch on Pexels.com

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