Literary Yard

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‘Iron Maiden’ and other poems by JL Smith

By: JL Smith

Iron Maiden

The iron maiden sits in the bedroom room corner,
waiting for me to come inside,
feel its confines,
compression of air,
its sharp nails,
scraping my skin
no matter where I turn.

I put myself
to flee you,
only to entrap myself,
as you remain outside,
holding me prisoner
until you leave
and I can walk away

for now.


The Edge

I stood at the bridge’s edge
not for you to save me
from the gray Chesapeake
below me,
currents that would whoosh me
to an end,
cold that would shock,
numbness that would whisper
it would all be OK.

I hold myself from the edge
not so you can be the one to save me,
but to save myself from you.


The Breakdown

Moss grew up the sides of the house we built,
taking over what we allowed to decay,
to fester,
to rot,
where parasites feasted upon
what we could not defend
nor maintain

on a foundation that crumbled
under our feet,
razed with the walls
we tore down.
Matter weathered
by the elements,
crumbling like us
to the ground,
where we both originated.


Cast Out of Eden

Yes, I took a bite out of the apple,
dangling sweet above my head,
from the tree we planted long ago,
branches grown wild without pruning
or care,
leaves still green,
but withering, in the August heat.

Temptation called me,
I had ignored its calling
for weeks, months, years.
You gave me the apple many years ago,
told me:
take a bite,
we could both be free.
All you need to do is pluck it,
take a bite.
But I refused,
because I knew what it would mean
to taste its sweet but bitter fruit,
and I didn’t trust you for offering it anyway.

But, the tree grew anyway,
healing from the switches
taken to its base,
growing during the rainy seasons
when we nourished it.

Though, one day I arrived at the tree alone.
You didn’t think I’d remembered how to get there,
that I remembered the droughts,
saw the scars on the tree trunk,
felt them with my hand,
caressed them—
my tears giving the withering tree
the only rain it has seen in a long time.

it lowered its fruit for me.
The serpent told me why Lilith ran away,
gave me its knowledge,
its secrets,
what I knew but did not want to know,
before it cast me out of the only garden I
had known,
letting me know that I could never return.


JL Smith lives in Odenton, MD. She has published two poetry collections, Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments, Weathered Souls.

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