The Burn

You try to clench your teeth and steel your cheek,
You’ll brace your bones and fortify your feet,
But when the tempers spark and fighting starts,
There’s no defense against the punctuation mark.

Of course, you’ll shield yourself with clever words,
Riposting well, but nothing goes unheard.
Your wit’s deferred what since has left its mark:
There’s no defense against its punctuation mark,

And just as new brands have a phantom burn,
Alone and late at night you’ll toss and turn
And squirming, find that something found your heart
With no defense against a punctuation mark.

It’s singed its symbol that you still can feel,
Since burns are scars that only time can heal,
Although it leaves a hard and calloused part
That may fend off another punctuation mark

That shares its shape, but bear this well in mind:
A brand may never show a second time,
But it still burns, a permanent remark
That there’s no pain like punctuation marks.

 

~Michael Danger Caskey

Amaryllis

How can you be so tense and serious,
Dear Amaryllis; don’t you know the only way to bloom
Is not with shoulders up, hands balled, arms trussed,
But through two far-flung arms like sunlight’s starry plumes?

Just as a flower may reveal its face
And spreads its light into a soul-lit place,
It opens in a field of blackened space
To wrap it all into a bright embrace–

All but the bud. No light can reach inside
A fist of folded arms and face cast into stone
And overcast with shade, as if to hide
The very thing that should be shown and should have shone–

Oh Amaryllis! much have you abused:
Aurora’s gift of beauty never used,
Prometheus’ sacrifice refused,
Apollo abandoned–you stand accused

Of killing off the very thing you are,
Like weeds that choke the life from their own sprouting seeds;
Some suicide, self-fratricide, bizarre
Oblivion, the price of which is paid by me,

The one who wished to witness that beauty,
The one who always dreamed what it would be,
The one who only just wanted to see
Your flower blooming, petals light and free.

~Michael Danger Caskey