Tamara Willems

do not feed the bear…

Traditionally it would seem 
January is not so kind 

it (and I) 
beginning in fact 
as a porcupine, kind of cute but 
rather spiky 

bits of holiday detritus 
persistently strewn everywhere 
sunless days 
in dull stretches of freeze and  
thaw  
when the neck of my sweater feels  
too tight 
the strands of hair that brush my neck feel set 
for strangulation 
the skin on my face becomes speckled
in dots of sugary over-indulgence 
and the lack of personal space is much too 
close 
and somewhat stifling 

sharp words guaranteed to  
burn 
bubbling up at the ready 
in my head and in my throat 
like a growing nausea, I use all energies  
to keep them down 
avoid unnecessarily releasing 
quills that cannot be removed quite 
so easily 
without of course, leaving holes 

I am breathing my way through 
in deep not so subtle 
sighs 
these being my small attempts  
at mercy 

last week, to begin 
I burned the palm of my hand quite badly
now I am bothered by the nasty scar  
left behind 
find I am touching it more in  
retributions of carelessness 
rather than  
gentle kindness 

I suppose this is where the winter 
sets in 
the bleakness of days 
the weight 

I resist the urge to power through 
these shadowy days of  
self-exposure 

instead I take them gently 
with tea 

knowing this too shall pass ♥

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