Ode to a Man Who Once Called Me a “Porcelain Doll”

Photo by Andrea Joseph via ReShot

years ago, when I was still
wading in closeted waters, a man
I loved wrote a poem for me.
he had always been kind–never
uttered a word of disrespect in
my direction and I swam in
every word of his as if they
were Heaven’s bath.
his poem, entitled, “porcelain doll,”
stuck to my bones and
hasn’t pulled its gluey residue
away from me, and I
hold on to his words–they
calm me when times shuck
the peacefulness from my mind.

we still communicate. I doubt
we’ll ever break free of each
other–friends, almost lovers,
back to friends, almost lovers . . .
it’s a cycle that has its own
tune and I can hum it in
seven different languages.
I’m still working on my
Swahili, but German and French
have made a solid return.
every time I see a text message
from him bubble to my
phone, a child of a different decade
ushers in her presence.
he still makes me feel like
living is the best gift from God.

and it is a Tango’d web which
I’ve found myself dancing on,
and these days–I do not wear
the best shoes for the job.
here is a man so far away from
me, so far away from my presence,
but near in others . . . what will
change? what can change?
he is someone for who I’d relocate–
shift life goals, and pack up
all my things once more.
yet, here we are . . .
afraid to take the plunge.

the years pile on, aging us
both in ways often hard to
discern–is today a good day
to broach the subject? will tomorrow be?
the dog doesn’t know his face,
hasn’t heard his voice, but
I recall every image of him
shared with me and still have to
beat his voice out of my ears
during the witching hours.
could sleep be better alongside
his body entwined with mine?

this man, for whom I carry
both pain and joy–settles in
the thickness of my breasts,
caresses my aura. the Chakras
of my body align with the presence
of the Holy Spirt, and I am
devout in this form of worship.
I won’t label myself . . .
I won’t mock my growth . . .
but long ago, years before, when
I was still wading in closeted waters,
he wrote a poem for me.
I was his “porcelain doll.”