Staring Strangers

by Caroline Bird

She compares herself to the tiles
Wonders how long it would take to figure
If she put down one foot
Would the other move forward on its own?
And maybe her eyes would adjust
Letting her body relax
If perhaps her surroundings felt real

The tiles gleamed and the droplets
Took their own lives and fell
Where the clouds could no longer reach
Her neck held more spots than her face
As well as supporting her head
And she slumped by the wall and rubbed
Shoulders with the bricks
But they had only warmth for themselves
They had no heat to spare

The fish hit the side of the bowl
Watching the outside,
To see if his fin
Could reflect in the mirror outside his
Tiny world
Once, that girl had thrown stones at the window
Which reflected in that mirror
As the light ran into the cracks
Of the bricks that might
Have been warm inside

And of the boy who she felt too guilty to
Talk to

Messed up all the relationships around them
As they looked and smiled
Then smiled and looked again
When the rumours took flight
Everyone laughed, they were only 12,
That fish, unseen, he would have known what to do

As the shower beat the wall with
Its spray, all the dreams, the boy
And the girl,
That fish would have known what to do

Her eyes started to reel in all these sights
They had known,
She would grow out of it soon.

And these throbs were only growing pains?
Gape, she said, I no longer care,
The street lamps left holes in her vision
And she sat by the wall
In the dark
The rain hated her
For showing them the way
When they needed to die
She sat and absorbed the rain

Her eyes hated the rest of her face
And every muscle in her body
Hated her eyes.
She sat in harmony
Put her hands in her lap
She was projected in the mirror
Along the road,
Through the cold walls,
Where the fish pondered over her life
Knowing all the answers,
Then forgot,
And once again
Watched his own reflection