Valerie Stammitti

No one could tell me I couldn't play or have grown up dreams about tomorrow.

I reveled in the times I could laugh and vault into the leaves

Until the streetlights came on and I returned to hell.

Sundays, after churches all were closed we rode to nowhere.

I stared through the glass and imagined the world a liquid fire,

a river that was burning, then realized the rain that morning

which began as sheets of sorrow would quench the fire and ease the flow of capillaries.

Other times I would sit in an empty room full of empty space, where nothing

was said; a room of hollow souls.

Until a door would open and men would converge

spreading fear and uncertainty, sometimes bringing relief from one's own thoughts.

Excuses fell on deaf ears as all the souls scattered, as if they were

overflowed water; nothing anyone could do or say.

I have walked through the flames of a burning river,

 postured helplessly on the banks and have slammed close

the doors of the empty rooms and their haunts.

I have fallen forward into the darkness and emerged gently into light.