Human Shell

Tammy Mezera


She was my safest place to meet myself and her

in the dimness we pulled up the sheet and lie beneath.

Sacred rituals to incite confession and be forgiven, healed

what hard autonomy broke within us,

what dependencies had crucified trust.


Am I really a snail after all

if I can’t leave that shell?


The fear so deep that I might never hear again

spoken echoes of the heart

as close as skin and lips.


Fears of drowning in pretense or silence

to be drawn by these tides back out to sea

where air and water are enemies.


When can love never say, ‘I love you’?

It’s too kind and gentle not to be heard

even as a widow of romance.


So strange and cruel these depths we build

stair by stair to consciousness

to now fall on concrete slabs.


Then I thought…

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