Parables of Disappearing – Renata Critton-Papp

FEBRUARY 2, 2022

Collecting weakness and leaving a breadcrumb trail of sloppy confessions
along the riverbank

Knotting our hair together in an attempt to mask our liabilities,
grasping at blame and joy

The space between us could only be filled by shaking out our bags
and lining up our belongings on fallen trees
like little soldiers

Practicing over and over again
The futility of wanting the worst for ourselves
The constant pounding against the walls of desire

When the birds started chirping in the garden of cedar and stone
I called my mom to say not to pick me up
for we no longer knew what was good or bad
Only a sense of pride hidden within us,
disguised as longing in your slender face

Brought to the mercy of our own fables
We turn ourselves into animals and bury our feelings in the swimming hole

We pretend and we choreograph
Nightly digital screams
and the clumsy pirouettes of adolescence

I can’t help but drop my knives and beg
for one more oblivious bed-bound day

And this time I’ll stick my whole hand in the fire
not just burning my thumb on the tip of the lighter

It will be a signal I send out in the universe to reach you

to make you remember
the night our faces melted off our bodies
and our necks went slack
and we lay,
shivering from fear of ourselves for so long that I didn’t believe anyone else could possibly be alive anymore

Works Cited

“Akrasia: English Definition & Examples.” Ludwig.guru. Accessed January 9, 2022. https://tinyurl.com/9f2v2rpd. 

Collins English Dictionary, s.v. “acrasia (n.).” Accessed January 9, 2022. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/acrasia. 

Wiktionary, s.v. “acrasia.” Last modified January 27, 2022, 5:05. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/acrasia. 

Spenser, Edmund. “The Faerie Queene.” British Library, 1590. https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/the-faerie-queene-by-edmund-spenser-1590.

Strudwick, John Melhuish. Acrasia. 1888. Oil on canvas. Art Renewal Center. https://www.artrenewal.org/artworks/acrasia/john-melhuish-strudwick/81670.

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feminist art & art history