“Girl in a Box”
At night, laying in her bed
she watches the shadows of branches
make patterns on her wall.
The combination of a sidewalk light and a wintry oak tree
creating a wholly other thing of ephemeral beauty.
Other patterns are different.
The way she prepares her coffee every morning,
the orderly disorder of people in the train station,
the raindrops sliding down the train window.
She sees patterns everywhere.
The cracks in the sidewalk,
the rows of windows in office buildings
the flocking of birds…
Everywhere, everywhere, randomness
Some patterns push her back into herself.
Patterns of rejection, patterns of hurt,
patterns of depression that leave her stranded
locked in the cage of her own mind.
The problem with a pattern
is that it isn’t really a thing.
She reaches up to her bedroom wall,
but cannot change the shape of the shadows.
She cannot change the ordering of things
into predictable patterns.
She cannot stop the chain reaction
when she sees that things have gone wrong again.
So she remains an observer of patterns,
both comforted and caged
by all the things she wishes were different
by all the patterns she cannot touch
and cannot change.