Beyond the Threshold

I'm sickened by the monotony
of these dim, bare walls

seems like every day they get closer,
crushing the air out of me
yet, somehow they're a comfort;
I know well every dent, hole and scratch

I put them there during many
an outburst

They smother me,
but are always here
when I need them.
They've withstood my abuse quite well

I'm told I'm free to leave
any time I please,
but since all my illusions,
false pretenses
and misconceptions surround me here,
cushioning every blow,
I'm almost afraid to walk out the door
for good and face the truth;
the consequences
the repercussions

of sanity.


Blinded in the supermarket, walking dumbly
through the aisles, packing my cart high
with sustenance: steaks, breads, cakes,
hoping to put some flesh back on your
whittled bones, hoping your sudden plunge
in weight is nothing serious, not the unspoken
"C", certainly, hoping the tests come back
negative, praying your three-times-a-day loose
bowels are due to some strange kind of flu,
thinking I can entice your appetite again with
all this food as I pile the cart higher and
higher, until it is spilling over with hope,
adding melons to the mess, fingers tightening
around their wholeness, the sweet perfection
within as I watch children playing, running
from their mother's shouts, using cucumbers
as pistols, their innocent, ignorant bliss a
knife in my ribs, twisting ever so subtly.
I advance numbly to the check-out line, seeing
people laugh amongst themselves, bantering
about recipes, grandchildren, and holiday gifts.
I am a foreigner; amiss, not understanding their
words and grins, and I'm fighting like hell not
to break like glass, just shatter at their feet
when the clerk hands me the receipt and says
"Have a good Christmas," and I bite my tongue
to keep the tears from coming, biting down hard
until I can taste the blood, and only when I can
escape to the hooded density of my car do I let
go, the tears running new and hot, diluting the
blood, the salt making it bearable, making it
taste just a little bit better.


Sex had always seemed a chore with you.
You had a unique way of completely
erasing any pleasure in it.

You made it quite clear
I was only there for your amusement.

Then you introduced a side I never knew;
wanting me to fulfill a huge fantasy,
your imagination and curiosity emerging,
pressing and sudden as a wet dream
as you urged me to perform acts
with several well-endowed men,
passing me around as casually as a bottle,
draining every drop,
my spirit drooping and gray,
like a clothesline left out in the rain.

I'd never even had dreams
that hurt so badly,
I, of the belief that bigger
was not necessarily better,
but your camera was rolling
reality unfolding,
as you stood there watching me drown,
trying to break me in like a brand new shoe;
trying your damndest to wear me down
like the true heel you were.

And, afterwards,
as you viewed your footage,
I lay numbly on the bed,
staring into nothing at all,
trying to fold myself into
the soft edges of the lamplight's glow
carved warmly in the ceiling,
feeling as though I was looking
through someone else's eyes
surveying the wreckage below,
trying to identify the victim, whom one
might overlook if they didn't know
she was there,
now so fragile
so small.

Cynthia Ruth Lewis:
I'm 38, having written poetry for the past 17 years. Currently back in the publishing
world after having taken a 2 year hiatus due to creative apathy and temporary insanity--
which, actually may have enhanced my writing. It has certainly enhanced my weirdness.

2005 Underground Voices