Take Nothing (a response to Neil Gaiman)
Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never
— Instructions, Neil Gaiman
But the food on the table looked so inviting
I had to bite even once I was bitten.
It tasted of cinders. I hoarded it,
hid it under the dirty things, ignored
the cuts and scrapes I earned along the way,
the tears in my dress from rusted nails
clawing to keep me where I should have stayed.
It took a long time to find the garden.
The well stood in the weeds and thistles,
old, empty, and ready to drown. I thought
about taking a swim. I thought about
finding somewhere new where the water
in my lungs would lend me life.
I turned back later than you told me to
and sooner than I should have. Promise me
you don’t think any less of me.
Promise me it’s just an illusion
that everything looks bigger now
than it was when I came.
Tonight I will rest. Tomorrow
I will come back to feed the hungry things.