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Excerpt for Thin Places by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Thin Places

Tabitha Vohn





Copyright © 2017 Tabitha Vohn

Interior Art[in Paperback & Kindle editions]: Saige Bethard

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1973746549

ISBN-13: 978-1973746546




Also by Tabitha Vohn



Poetry

Only For a Moment


Novels

Requiem for the Fallen

Finding What Is

Tomorrow is a Long Time



If you’re in here, it’s because I love you. If you’re in here a lot, I’ve held you close-fisted. I hope to love you, open-handed. I will love you, forever, regardless.




thin places, n: “A ‘thin place’ is a term that…in Celtic spiritually…refer[s] to places where the distance between heaven and earth seem gossamer thin.”—Beth Allen Slevcove







CONTENTS





1. When relationships suck because you can’t own another person’s pain

2. Idol Worship

3. Harbinger

4. Ode to Happy

5. Lead

6. Home*

7. Media

8. Revival

9. Recollect*

10. The Swimming Pool*

11. Aria

12. Haiku: Silence

13. Wavering

14. Catherine

15. Enya Singing

16. Chaos

17. Just So We’re Clear

18. Buffy

19. Jen Lindley

20. Charlotte Eriksson-Inspired Thought

21. Chaos Deux

22. Monsters

23. Atheist

24. Rupi Kaur-Inspired Thoughts

25. Resolve

26. Self-Medicating

27. Ride

28. Reborn

29. Hereditary

30. In Dreams

31. Evoke

32. Dally

33. Numb

34. In Between

35. May

36. Summer Approaches

37. A Poem for T

38. Thin Places



WHEN RELATIONSHIPS SUCK BECAUSE YOU CAN’T OWN ANOTHER PERSON’S PAIN



I am a weather vane


Inconstant


Moving with your wind

in storms I am merely

the evidence of your ever-

changing black skies


You

reign heavy on my tin skin

your anguish I cannot

soak in I am dependent

on your light for the calm

When I can just be

just Still love

Until the moon pulls

the pollution corrodes


You

and I

Spin again.


My breath hurts

every inhale an anticipation

of the direction your

current will force me


Today I ache for you to see

how exhausting this Dance

in your raindrops Is


where I am merely a

Fixed spot hovering

between Ground and you

no rest and

You

hovering above

your Warmth just out of reach

Those clouds that neither you

nor I control

Smother

and I long to be

Desert again

an impartial catalyst

of your heat

where the sage brush burns


And the water runs off.



IDOL WORSHIP



Tell me you

will always love me

as fiercely

as you do today


as you did when you

penned that verse I pour

over like prophecy

drink in like prayer


Come on


let me have the lie

from your mouth


so I can remember the

way your voice gravel-

whispered the way

your skin smelled

when I think back

to this moment

when it was true.


After you’ve forgotten

what it felt like to need

to be saved

recall through opaque

haze heart dementia

vague when you still

wanted my wings

to be your home


before the feathers

fell out each celestial

scar a proof to prove

to myself that I was

once heaven incarnate

for you I plucked them

out to cover your tears

in swan kisses


neverminding the blood

it took or the inner peace

I pried loose when I welcomed

that sting willingly for you

those interstellar sacrifices

sufficient in the moment but

dissolute as fallen snow or

an overplayed piano you will

recall the notes but cease to

feel its tune in your bones


When I have given all

and you have taken most

when I am just the crescent-

shaped scars of a needle

you plunged to feel the fix

of a high you said could

only be my


Hearth’s Fire

I fear I’ve loved you blind


and while you worship

at the temple of other

goddesses my altar will

gather dust the incense

no longer burning sweet


not forgotten

worse than forgotten

outgrown

when I am become the one

that made you see the sun

but covet the moon could not

give you her midnight caress

or Venus’ unbuttoned dress


when I find myself tracing

feather paths back dead ends

presence of an empty sanctuary

listening to the echo of faraway

songs penned to other goddesses


I’ll remember

you told me

you’d always love me

as fiercely as you do today


I’ll think back to this moment

when it was true.



HARBINGER

For J.D., S.S., & H.K.



I follow the needlepoint

from your wrist to the

elbow

embroidery of

a memory quilt meant to

tell the stories you need

me, or someone, to trace

the lines of


this patchwork

too primal for words

pieces

sewn crooked that hurt when

they play in the red room of

remembrances


you hear the

reel wind up but can’t look

away

screens on every side

like there never was anywhere

to hide

hostage cries that

paralyze sleep


and tear your heart satin

tatters ragged as if this

moment was as actual

as the first time his hands

on your body were factual

that unwanted education of what

torn seams seems like each

thrust a ramming rod stuffed

your tenderness farther out of

reach


child eyes sunken in salt

sea beyond recovery they are

treasure jars in the backyard of

your young self buried for safe-

keeping


and your aged fractured hands

can’t remember where to find her.


So you send search parties

re-tracing steps through pried-

loose flesh

it’s a labor of love

to find what was erased like


maybe


when the sutures in

circumlocution

unwind the missteps

that brought you here


maybe


when Novocain nerves

don’t need open wounds to

breathe easy


maybe


once these highways

stop stretching towards sunsets

like a second death


you won’t need to

forge these rapids of blood

to silence the needle

of broken records.



ODE TO HAPPY



Green


A teal Brew Thru Crew

tee you’ve had since

you’ve known me

faded

unlike your love

you survived more

humiliation than I was

worth you made us work


A swath of hair the color of

jade sea fallen over eyes

that’ve seen too much

it was that wave I loved

after the violet of winter

faded


Taken on hues of blue

you

the girl I never had the

courage to be and

proudly envy

with breath beats like

lion’s teeth you pour

out raised fist honesty

in overflowing anthems

of unabashed joy you

give hugs like its

the first time you’ve

seen me in years it’s

the best feeling ever


That color etched

into the sunshine folds

of a faded blanked

I remember your

gangly legs and the way

you forced your too long

limbs contorted in my lap

saying “cradle me”


We read The Wizard

of Oz when you were

eight years old and

I said “what the hell am

I reading you?” laughing

as hard as twss jokes

drove you into mock

fits of horror we’ll

always have if the

Sabbath’s a-rockin’

don’t come a

knockin’!


Shapeshifts into

those moss-webbed

woods where trees

are the hue of childhood

peace like everything is

just okay


or the emerald

piercing I waited eighteen

years to get I chose you

to represent belated beauty

envy


is it too late to join

the senior girls at the

study hall table my 7th

grade self still asks and

join the sisterhood of

begrunged hippies


I

in my yard sale flannel and

un-ripped jeans wanted so

badly for you to see my

kinship colors behind frizzy

curls and pastel imitations

of normal


got lost in black

but we found green in those

back roads we drove for hours

radio so loud the wind

covered its ears and it was

beyond dearest treasure

to have those summer hours

with you


I am now grown in

my spirit’s skin and happiness

is in the details I couldn’t feel

their joy fully

while I was living them.



LEAD



The heaviest regret is silence


anchored in my core thicker

than cement the tissue has

grown up

around

and attached


it is rooted

a permanent fixture

in all those

words I never said

made manifest deafening in

consequence


like when Fear was a clamped hand

over my mouth its bony white fingers

I imagined were the skeletons of your

threats, little did I know

that twenty hours

Skittle handfuls of Zoloft

a box of syringes hidden behind your

desk


the pink flesh game of chess you

rip-skin played on the canvas of your

arms and legs spelled the necessity

that I

in my coward’s clothes

was unwilling to shield you with


I abandoned your vices to your own

devices

the lie I whispered through stitched lips

said my warning would make it worse

that stiff breeze would shift your dangling

feet off the precipice edge what it failed to

tell me was that your toes inched slowly

one bloodied day after another


in silence I watched you suffer

shuffle to the mantras of your own

incessant whispers

soldered in and I convinced myself

that I was the best one to help you


in me you trusted

to me you handed those ashes

you said spit in them and I will see

again


but my Messiah’s robes were

counterfeited by coward’s clothes

no faith

to turn your wine to water with

no faith

that with my outstretched hands

you’d walk on it

instead of swallowing all that salt


I tread riptides of regret

its serrated tips pierce my tongue

and I swallow tsunami oceans

of all you went through.



HOME



Sometimes

all I want is to go home

the place we’re all trying to

get back to


it exists in those

moments memory makes

beautiful walks forgotten halls

the hours I would spend

lying in bed

Mazzy Star or early folk Jewel


playing I would watch the light

display of moon and headlights

waltz on darkened dancefloor

walls the crickets’ haunting cry

is still the lullaby and me with

nowhere I had to be the next

morning

but home


It’s easy to forget the freedom

of letting your world weight

sink into plush carpet or hardwood

earth why are we so afraid with age

to curl fetal positioned surrendered

so close to the ground


we forget what letting go felt like

before our freedom seduced us into

different chains I miss when the

daydreams of the grind were

yesterday’s stolen seconds reality


I would sit in the abandoned cemetery

with only the open hay fields and

woods and forgotten souls for

company when peace was its own

poetry the rest got lost with Barbie clothes

hides in the forest with The Last Unicorn


and sleeps in gingerbread houses my

mind used to color pictures of and if there

was a bread trail traced in moonlight

leading back to mother’s arms anything

could fix would I crawl back into the

wolf’s belly so warm captive but connected


to the part of me contented to just

–Be–

Sometimes I wish

she wasn’t so hard to find

All times I wish

I could take you there with me.



MEDIA



We crave brokenness

like the mob craves the

arena

like serial killer lust

for that next victim


Come on

make us feel better

about ourselves


tell us about the

shock over your fifth

failed marriage

show up meth-faced

messed up for that

DUI mug shot


wear pasties in public

proclaim it empowerment

inhale misery deep

hail to the

right of legalized

self-abuse with someone

else’s forgotten daughter

down dog across your lap


your Rehab-Pride parades

merely symptomatic

of our voyeuristic tendencies

as we throw another log on

the pyre

and laugh while the witch burns


My soul feels

cleaner

when I leave the television off

and ignore the Yahoo news thread.



REVIVAL



Last week

the drive home through un-changed streets

was the first time I noticed the leaves had changed.


Maple trees sport bursts of burnt gold and ocher rust like flame

Patches ignited from within like they know these dying days with waning light are beautiful

especially when we let ourselves be reminded that they’re leaving with it.


I can’t help but think of you.


Birthdays bear less than subtle needle-pain loss why your heart chose two days before mine to stop I’ll never know but our birthdays and death days broke juxtaposed patterns like stillborn shutters those blind hands that cut threads saw a suture they could weave when you left.


And we stayed.


Reminded with our pastel candles that we are still here. Alive.

I didn’t keep the Cranberries CD or that pair of jeans nobody bothered to wrap gifts that year the idea of our birthdays was just too vulgar.


[I just looked up that album on Amazon because all I could remember was War Child how I couldn’t stop listening to it: To the Faithful Departed. Are you kidding me? God and His humor sometimes.]


I remember that disc being plopped into my lap, before or after your funeral I can’t remember. But my exact placement on the love seat and that numbness of life with no taste is photo album vivid.


I wonder if that is why I always feel undeserving of presents?


I passed those clusters of shivering colors and the number hit unexpected as the phone call that said “He was headed out on his tractor and hasn’t come back…”


Twenty years.


That number.


We’ve been taught to revere the accumulation of decade days to take notice of the solidity of zeros like stones when I was 20 I was engaged I was on the scabbed side of those fresh wounds and I was scrubbing salt out of the angry skin of others I’d outgrown childhood a lifetime ago in those solid round numbers and now…you’re 20 years gone.


More of my life spent without you than with but…

You–permanent–.


So ingrained into the DNA of my days that I mourn the existence of that Oct 15th as it becomes the mountain that diminishes within its own horizon the farther away the road leads


To lose the potency of that day doesn’t stick and the hit of that number is a glimmer in the rear view. In autumn, especially on birthdays


–I remember you–


And we

Are the war torn past

The hope of that spirit world

And the fringe soul revivals

Of the present.



RECOLLECT



This isn’t for the boy who’s gonna make it

although I write about him too often

to fill that empty heart space with daffodil-scented air

when he’s gone


This is for the one I forgot


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(Pages 1-23 show above.)