Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hoping for Visible

I changed the spelling of my name in high school,
because I had decided to become a poet. What?
Shortened it to three letters, R-y-k. I don't know
why it seemed important, but it was. It changed
little. When you're mostly invisible, you are

something that lives on the periphery of other's
lives. Now you don't see me, and now you don't.
I would pretend I was made of smoke, I learned
how to walk quietly, how to disappear in public.
I could have been visible, satisfied with people

seeing me, but it always takes so much work
not to fade into the background of friendships.
I lose a lot of friendships. I'm not good at them.
I find it stressful to take up space, in full view.
I became a poet so I could camouflage myself

with stories. Maybe I wanted to be just a voice,
mysterious in some library light, formless oracle
for people to beg words from. I would feed them
all the words they'd need. They'd call me so wise,
and leave gifts for me, and then leave me alone.

But the sky is blue, and this world is this world.
It's hard to be invisible when I need people so
much, I struggle as if in dream-mud, anxious,
weighed down with hoping I choose my words
carefully. But I show up in the light, awkward

and off-script. I recite poems I hope are clever
and beautiful, empowered to possess your heart.
If I could stand to be visible all the time, I'd see
the blue sky day, and you might say, "Nice to see
you" and I could say back, "It's good to be seen."

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