Changeling by Delaney Keaten

I wanted to be a book—
carrion birds ascending,
a lipstick print on
a gas station mirror,
tree limbs hallucinating
into the shape
of a barn owl or a skull.

A heroine so strange
that she was effortlessly beautiful.

Instead I was crying fits
in the middle of a
Christmastime department store—
the burn of tears
over a lost earring
flushing through my glass eyes.

I was a tangle of hair
on the back of someone’s neck
during a sticky summer—
clinging to proof of life
like a strong wind could
end the world.
A connect-the-dots puzzle
with no one to play.

Now I am dreams of home—
a house in the fields or on a lake
where jam is homemade
& children’s laughter filters
all the sunlight liquefying
through the windows.

I am a chimera of words & weight—
a woman formed from
every page she’s read & written
but still realistic—
holding myself together with
the poems & daily victories,
throwing the plagues of the past
out of the open sunroof
as I race down the highway.

A being more whole
than any protagonist.

Delaney Keaten is a poet who lives one town over from the toxic brown cloud surrounding Denver, Colorado. She is known as an avid karaoke singer (read butcher of songs), a self-taught writing machine, and a non-practicing polyamourist. In her spare time she enjoys long walks in the library smelling the books, quitting smoking many times a month, daydreaming about marrying Jack White, and of course writing poetry. She has been published in The Junk Lot Review and co-authored a book with Kate Hammerich titled As We Are Now but Never Again. She is working on publishing two books of her own poetry in the near future…and also meeting Jack White.

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