The wooden cross loomed through the windshield as we turned onto the rural street. Surrounded by balloons, candles, and teddy bears, its bright colors belied a dark secret.
But that’s why we came here.
Thin green branches snaked across the inscrutable path…. I hadn’t expected thorns.
Yet they scratched at my bare arms, then my fingers, which were slapping away the voracious mosquitoes…who would willingly come out here?
We picked our way across the mud and weeds, past orange tags tied to trees and bushes. I paused once to stare blankly at discarded blue rubber gloves in the brush. The tiny trail opened into a clearing…was this it?
Instinctively, we hushed and stared at the stamped-down, hardened ground. I strained my senses for a hint of you, but any trace that might have once been there had been excised by searchers and police. I shuddered, remembering how I’d heard that the volunteers had found you by smell…how long had you been out there?
And then in a rush, all the other questions came: Had you suffered? Had you been frightened? Did you call out for help? What happened? Who is responsible for the grisly scene that warranted that wooden cross?
As we slowly extricated ourselves from the overgrowth, we built hypotheses. But as we followed each one to its conclusion, inevitably, a piece would fall away, and the whole construction would crumble. Every theory had holes; no explanation held water.
Back on the pavement, I shielded my eyes against the Texas sun and surveyed the landscape. Suburban homes, green lawns, washed cars…A place where neighbors were neighbors. How had your absence gone unnoticed? So many claimed to have seen you walking, as you always liked to, up and down that very street…did it not seem odd to them when your trips stopped? How had your body decomposed, undiscovered, for a month in a woods so small it took us ten minutes to walk the length of it? Why were we able to? Wasn’t this a crime scene?
Everyone here mourns you, yet no one knows you. For if they did, they would know the girl who survived. They would know how you weathered all the rain life threw down on you, and they would never believe that you suddenly succumbed and walked into the storm.
Like we know.
But that’s why we came here.
We brought with us everyone who loved you, laughed with you, cried with you, and misses you. We’re all here. And we’re not going anywhere.
Until we all know the truth, we will stay. As long as it takes. You are NOT a faceless urchin, lost in the woods. A nameless example of arbitrary evil. You are a redhead, a bassist, a giggler, a teenaged child of Christ, and you ARE:
They can’t make me; I’ve been here before.
I’ll show them all out there.
It can’t be worse than this constant war,
I’m better off out there.
Because I know it won’t be long,
They’ll be sorry, and things will change.
They’ll see the ways that they were wrong,
I’ll come back, and things will change.
That’s what I thought the day I ran,
And what I truly believed.
I remember how it all began,
What I naively believed.
The longer on my own, I guess,
The more I felt the pain.
I grew used to the loneliness,
And came to love my pain.
I slipped away when they come close,
I didn’t want to be found.
Let them imagine I’m decomposed,
Decaying, never to be found.
And soon that wasn’t far from truth,
They’d hardly recognize
The hardened life that stole my youth
Reflected in my eyes.
I drift from street to street out here
My friends, they come and go.
And pass the time, from year to year
With plans that come and go.
Sometimes, I think I’ll find a place,
Safe, out of the wind.
But I learned long ago, there’s no such space,
So I turn into the wind.
For more poetry, visit: Image Curve
I carry with me the magic of light dancing on a stream in a handful of glitter,
I remember the dusky clouds each time I pass a hand through my sunset hair,
The life and aroma of the hyacinth I keep close to my nose in an unbroken circle,
The beauty of love I carve into my skin, that my heart may be kept aware.
You may not see or hear or perceive the world that I do around me,
Or maybe it doesn’t mark your outsides, like patina, as it does to me.
But all that I am reflects my connection with the majesty and glories of this world.
Yet you look back at me, and say what you see is a person who is clearly- unnatural.