Nautilus

you were the one who taught me
how to answer a question
with silence
when the answer
on the tip of your tongue
would be too cruel
or too personally revealing,
and how to make that silence
speak volumes. yours
always did. at first
I didn’t understand them.
it took days
or weeks
or sometimes even months
of intense overthinking
to fully understand
what they meant.

I had to piece you together
in my mind
like a great jigsaw puzzle.
I had to find all the tiny
hidden catches and
secret latches, levers
inside your head
that have to be pressed just so
to open up your mystery
like a Chinese puzzle box.

yet you constantly spill your heart out
like an overflowing bucket, but
it’s always disguised
in a joke or a half-truth or a
muttered comment under your breath
that you refuse to repeat
when asked.

you have more chambers
than a Nautilus, and at the center
of your many-layered shell
a tiny, frightened creature hides,
naked and alone. I’ve tried
to drag it out of there
more times than I
can count. so maybe it’s
for the best that you keep
to your shelter.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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