The Balsams

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Who is inside?

The Balsams

Eyes stare – horses slowly prance
pass – to share a path –
At night fall people gather on a wide plank
wooden porch –
The Balsams – aware, now – no one is here.

In my room – I am drawn to the window –
a pair of eyes stare back at me.
A handle twists on a wooden door but no one enters.
Kneeling at a window my eyes search
between balsams as I tilt my head up – toward
brilliant stars.

My feet feel cold, my body tired – two days
side by side with Mother inside a carriage
on sandy slopes, a mountains path
yet sleep does not pull me from the window.

I don’t move, leave, in my mind I am locked
inside – and I know I have been here before –
at this very spot on knees peering at the trees.

Morning slips through walls of white as fog
dances its’ last dance before sunlight flickers
between branches, dances on white walls too
create silent music – I have come this far to create.

A strange sketched on paper, eyes tell their own
story, faces instead of words; people
I have never met – yet they have
something to say – as those stars last night
staring through a dense forest.

My morning walk brings me to the forests’ edge
I recalled a shadow in the woods, and heard
footsteps behind me – shall I walk the same path –
a path long and dangerous.

Once a stranger told me I lived deep within
a forest, where parchment paper strewn from
room to room – unfinished writing – hands of maids
and servants cleaned what surrounded me.  Left for
them to read.

My head rests against a satin wall as I sit on a loveseat,
satin touches my skin – I walk to a window to rub  fingers
across stained glass – see men in fancy suits with red
carnations, who wear white gloves –  fetch me- to greet
a stranger.  A young girl like me – her hand lifts a
light blue dress, a hoop beneath slips toward the moon –
she steps from a carriage, a parasol covers sunlight, dancing.

She disappeared – I am alone once again – a reflection
returns to my window – I see a wooden fence
clutching at the lowest branches of the balsams – now
I am small – auburn hair fixed in ringlets – as men
in black suits and top hats stare at a child fidgeting.
No one smiles, but I hear the tapping of their canes – I
do not lift my head – perhaps they are leaving.

A summer sun lightened golden blonde hair; it is my
my face – not a stranger out the window – it was my hand

who recklessly lifted a satin dress – as feet slapped
against a stone path beneath the white roof at the
entrance – I see my own reflection looking back through
glass.

No one raps at my door, no one walks down a corridor
yet a cloud of dust as fog – covers night. I stare at myself.

“Don’t touch the flowers,” the old man gardener in
dirty clothes nearly slaps my hand within a rose garden
and I smile to reach and pluck a dead – bloom, lifeless dropping
petals – he shakes his head and walks away.

I heard talking, but no one is here – so I walked knowing I
could discuss the day with two lions of marble at this pathways
end. I have spoken to these lions, before.

A beautiful woman – draped with lace walks past me toward
the garden gate – she carries brilliant red roses, wears a large brim hat –
she turned, motioned for me to follow then she faded in the sunshine.
Who was she?

Another night, another time to sit alone on a loveseat – the woman
in lace no longer holds onto red roses but a doll dressed in a light
shade of blue – matching her satin dress – a veil covered her face.

As if traveling backwards, I return to the room changing in
size – staring to the sky as I search for star’s – a ball of orange set
in the west – so I begin to draw a ladies face, partially concealed
who held red roses in the garden – who smiled but never spoke.
cannot recall a doll hidden in my room –

Last night – a dream when I held a doll whose eyes
were covered by fog, her dress once blue as a morning dew – robbed
her eyes – as blue as the sky – fog sheds mist on green grass – fog
coated he blue eyes as if clouds were her veil.

Dew has covered the window pane – still at the Balsam,
remembering last nights dream – I hear a carriage beneath my
window – opened now to view the day – as a woman in white lace
lifts her gloved hand to wave, she smiles, gently steps into her
seat, and I watch her carriage leave – then turn to see her doll –

She rests alone, no shade of light blue or shoes, no eyes
can be seen through her fog, a cracked face – I feel her pain.

“Who are you?” as if she could talk or move her distorted face.
Last night a dream brought her home – and you are gone – again.

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