The Step

The smooth marble surface reflects her tears,
hot drops of molten indignation.
She does not care that her logic is flawed
only that she has a vessel in which
to pour her endless tide of sorrows.

The chosen path is not by design,
more the one of least resistance,
the easy target, the obvious option,
the problem viewed through her rose whine
simplifying the situation to a clear cut end –

the sacrifice turned deaf by love
her blood the only part not tied,
lulled into a false sense of security,
yet deep within her instincts scream
a warning of the impending danger.

She walks to the step willingly
places her cheek on the cold stone.
I close my eyes at the last moment
not wishing to see the blade
as it slices through my soul.


Linked to OpenLinkNight on 22/11/11


24 responses to “The Step

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I have approved this comment today as I said I would. However, I wish to make clear to anyone reading this in conjunction with my poem that the poem WAS NOT written about self harming. If individuals choose to interpret it in that way, that is their own personal choice, but as the author I assure you it was not the intended theme!

  1. Yikes. This brought many images to mind, for me. I settled in some medieval time, or perhaps when wtiches were hunted. Or a martyr. I like it that you allow us to fill in the story.

  2. wow…lots of emotion in this write…the knife through the soul at the end is like an exclamation point to the rest…only caring for a vessel to spill it into is a familiar place…

  3. Wow, painful and surprising ending.

    These are my favorites:

    “hot drops of molten indignation.
    She does not care that her logic is flawed”

    “the problem viewed through her rose whine
    simplifying the situation to a clear cut end”

  4. Strong piece, some powerful images promoted deep pondering. Really enjoyed the piece, thanks

  5. we weave in & out from first to third person here…
    is the speaker seeing herself or another?
    Dislocation, complete anguish and misery over

    The chosen path is not by design,
more the one of least resistance,
the easy target, the obvious option
    … the blade
as it slices through my soul.
    there’s agony here, pain and torment. such sadness.

    very nice write.

  6. Whoa! That dagger slicing through the soul hurts…Almost Aztec in its sacrificial imagry. Beautifully crafted piece, Abi!

  7. You write about pain so beautifully … perhaps it is our only refuge … to embroider our pain with beauty. The ending of the poem is definitely the gem of the poem. It is the irony of ‘expected surprise’. Knowing that the pain is coming, knowing that your own logic is flawed, knowing that there almost is no choice … and taking it with precision and grace.

  8. As one walking to execution…a painful journey, emotionally carved toward an altogether powerful end. Gets the mind’s eye working, to be sure!

  9. I read this several times. The relationship within it is ambiguous. I believe the speaker begins with rage that is externalized with tears, and internalized with guilt. In the end the person has to face a kind of surgery to repair, or mend what has been avoided or overlooked because the speaker took the path of least resistance. All actions do, after all, have consequence even non-action has consequence.

    I continuously consider poetry written in this manner. I wrote more ambiguously early in my writing. I felt it was so important to layer meanings, to give the reader room for interpretations. Yet my work was murky, unclear, uneven and to some so maddening they didn’t like it and told me so. I never didn’t like it, but I bent to the criticism somewhat. Eventually I worked through my poetic devices. I’m still doing that.

    I am not criticizing this piece in the least. I am actually feeling a kinship to it. I also wonder what loftier minds, more informed poets really think about this kind of writing. I find that some poets like Stevens are murky but their objective is not clarity, but a kind of word music. Stevens doesn’t care if his poems are linear and understandable, he likes the sound of word on word.

    I have studied poetry most of my life and yet I’m not sure I can give you an honest appraisal of this piece. I love it on one level because I find it something much like what I once wrote; and on the other hand I reject it for the same reasons I walked away from writing in this manner. Curious, isn’t it? But thought provoking. And that’s always good.

    • Hi Gay,

      You have obviously given this some thought, so I will make a suggestion that may cast it differently. Have you considered the poem is about 2 people, split between the first 2 and last 2 stanzas?

  10. I identify and find some relief from that oppressive weather that’s about to crash down on someone I care about, and my instincts tell me run from the explosion yet also tells me to withstand the shrapnel blast yet again. Accurately delineates the human condition.

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