Poem from the Vault: I was afraid of strangers

I was afraid of strangers

When I was young,

I looked before jumping

across puddles

or into relationships.

I rarely spoke

for fear of the flood.

I learned to love

those whose eyes loved me

with the bliss of drowning

and now

it is nothing

to slip on moist words—

my legs collapse underneath me

and on my knees

in this rippling pool,

I smile at you.

[Originally published in Jittering Microscope #3, 1991, this poem also appears in my first novel, Pieces of Home.]

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