Written by Kaci Skiles Laws
Everything was better
when I was quiet.
Quietly, not asking
I couldn’t bury my head; they wouldn't
have my ears full of sand.
I looked away and hummed
something or asked myself instead,
if no one else
wanted to fill the position,
I was good at nodding yes.
Yes, I knew they weren't the same.
It was my job to understand them,
frantic wild cards, smiling Barbies,
thinking they were something special.
But I knew better.
They took and said, 'taker!'
why. It’s why I was quiet. Why
I always tried to save something
helpless, a stray cat. It's why
I hated ruined things, the word ungrateful,
held onto them, made wishes.
Everything was better when
my skin fell from my face,
and they screamed.
Kaci Skiles Laws is a closet cat-lady and creative writer living in Dallas—Fort Worth. She is an editor at Open Arts Forum, and her writing has been featured in The Letters Page, Bewildering Stories, The American Journal of Poetry, Pif Magazine, The Blue Nib, Necro Magazine, and Ten Million Flies, among others. She won an award for her poem, This is How it Ends, by North Central Texas College's English Department and is currently working on a children's book called The Boogerman. Her published work and blog can be viewed at https://kaciskileslawswriter.wordpress.com/, and her visual artwork and music can be viewed on YouTube under Kaci and Bryant.
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