August 2nd, 2020
Some porcelain is missing from my cheek,
a hole you study while you think I sleep.
In light of day it bothers you I’m weak.
In darkness you find penetrable deep.
Hidden beneath a blanket when you leave,
consigned to closet should somebody stay,
your sentimentality, my reprieve —
protect you from the cruelty, you say.
You lay me down upon mulberry silk.
Caress my cracks, discuss each clouded eye,
a complexion rosier even by my guilt.
Sometimes I am a thing you just despise.
Perhaps too delicate for this contact,
when you’re away I forget I’m cracked.
I Am Delicate
And I don’t feel bad about it. It feels dangerous and controversial to speak this declaration of fragility in a harsh world. To me, though, remaining delicate in a world that is coarse is a triumph.
I haven’t always been made to feel that is the case by others. Toughness and aggression are rewarded often in our society in the workplace and social dynamics. These aren’t bad characteristics. They are even admirable. Bad people give aggressiveness and toughness its worst connotations, but so many people have survived and flourished because of these qualities, and I admire them.
Today I want to own and celebrate delicateness, for myself and for others like me who may be coming to terms with it too, because it is what I am. It’s taken me a long time to own up to this in myself. I used to attach myself to others who espoused the aggressiveness and toughness I felt I lacked, that society made me feel was a deficit — probably hoping it would rub off on me. Maybe one day I would be acceptably tough.
I didn’t question that I never wanted to change, that I liked the way I was and knew it was my true nature. Society can sometimes makes us forget that what is different isn’t always a curse or inferior, just us. We aren’t all tough and loud. Some of us are soft and delicate, and we don’t want or need to change even as society feels like a conspiracy to force that change. We can admire and respect others who are different from us and ask for their respect in return.
Perhaps we need to change our habits and rituals to find a sanctuary where we are safe. We crave more careful fingers on our porcelain in the same that we give off a delicate touch to others. I am so very cracked from my experiences, glued together by my own hardwork but beautiful still in my fractured, functioning state that I am in — I finally see.
I am a delicacy that is not for everyone, and that is okay. I am for me, quiet and quivering against my own fragile fingers, intact exactly as I am supposed to be. Are you delicate, too? As Emily Dickinson once said, “then there’s a pair of us. Don’t tell.” Except today I did, and now we can offer each other, and the world, a lighter touch.
Burning House Press is on hiatus for the month of August, and I decided to move my column to once a week during this month. It’s kind of an experiment doing it every week so let me know how it feels to you because I certainly think it may stay this way. I am so honored to be a part of this place, and I always strive to maximize my opportunities. Be sure to check out my site kristingarth.com where my books are housed and my podcast Kristin Whispers Sonnets. Be delicate with each other.