Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “shiver

Shiver


i still shiver
when fingers touch my neck without forewarning.
if a man tries to whisper in my ear,
my body freezes
like the temperature just dropped.

this body used to be
raw honey for black tea,
good music for a weary soul.

my voice used to sing simple songs
about my day or foods i like.

but this tongue grew numb
and i still get nervous
when the weight i purposely gained
slips away.

i’m still suspicious of strangers;
plot escape plans
when i walk in alleys alone:
if i’m wearing heels,
i practice in my head
how i’ll stab a crazy man in the eye;
if wearing boots,
i plan to knock him down, stomp, and run;
if any other shoes,
then knee must be used.
all this preparation for a woman
who’s never been attacked by someone she didn’t know;
all these thoughts of violence for a woman
who thought love conquered all.

but i had one failure,
trusted when i should’ve been cautious,
stayed when i should have left,
entertained when i should have ignored…

and sometimes i still
shiver.

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Wild is the Wind


*Written June 30, 2008*

i remember rain,
summer shower at dusk.
there were feet running,
people trying to get out of the downpour for cover.
but i stood out in the rain searching for love,
hoping the drops on my head
would translate into love in my heart,
that the water would quench the yearning.
but the more it rained, the more i was thirsty, the more i felt lost.
a monsoon is what i wanted.
i wanted the rain to wash away my past
but instead it took over my future.

now i can’t stand the smell.
summer rain on warm sidewalks and i want to run for cover.
i feel like i got washed away too
like somehow along with my makeup and wet kisses and my pearl earring,
my mind ran out of my ears and into the storm drain.

i just wanted love
or at least the feeling.
false love turned to shivers,
leisure to running, moaning to screaming,
fun to anger, passion to fear.
i lost myself…
and all the time i thought i knew me
but all i knew was the wind,
the wind blowing past covering me with what i thought i wanted.

it wasn’t love.
it was just a storm.
i mistook the sound of thunder for my heartbeat.
i mistook my fear for the wind
and when the winds calmed, i shivered and could not stop.
now i shiver even when it’s not raining.