if you look into her eyes long enough
the room can blur and disappear
she can become you for a while
and say what you know but can’t hear
since the day you were born
you’ve known all of the stories by heart
pearl tea, cat-scratch blind sight
reincarnate joan of arc
and then there were darker stories
some that you wrote yourself
but maybe no one has ever asked
how the gypsy queen herself felt.
so now you try to leave
your whole childhood behind
but the ghost stories are just that
and they’ll haunt you your whole life
maybe she’s just an old woman
you’re now much taller than
who asks you just to sit with her
and give her your hand.
but then all you can remember
is “fear” and “guilt” and “scream” and “cry”
then you are eight years old again
shutting down inside.