There is a darkness in me, a place that never feels safe. After watching rapists claim high office, I stopped believing in karma. People don’t always get what’s coming to them, too many of us are still rubbing nickels. Now I know that for every person who tells you they love you, there are ten more who would cut your heart out if there were no consequences. Streets are safe only on the nights you have managed to escape.
At 41, I know I’m more afraid than I should be. Through bad storms, I crouch under the living room window, peek under the shade, watch the trees’ deadly sway, wait for a heavy limb to crack and cave in the roof. This is just a little house. During Hurricane Sandy, my ex left a bottle of Wishing Tree wine on the coffee table–I haven’t looked back since.
Notifications from NYTimes buzz on my phone–I want to read the news of the world ending so I can get ready. I’ll need to put on clean underwear.
Ash rains from 4th of July fireworks, brushes my forehead, gets caught in my hair, a christening of sorts. Who is really free? In so many ways we are laced into corsets until it’s hard to breathe. I’m tied to you by a delicate string, trying to ward off cats who want to play. They are, after all, predators.
Christine Taylor, a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey. She serves as a reader and contributing editor at OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters. Her work appears in Modern Haiku, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Room, and The Rumpus among others. She can be found at www.christinetayloronline.com