Inside Ethan Frome

Please, I beg you, 
Do not speak kindly to me.
Will you not employ those gentle words;
Words that imply a tenderness toward me,
Words indicating something beyond 
A superficial concern, 
Words proposing that you have cared for me, 
Words to suggest that you have truly seen me?

Again, I implore you, 
Do not ply me with such talk.
Will you not deploy that lasting language;
Language indicating that I am not alone,
Language that wraps round my mind 
As a downy shawl,
Language filling a moment with sweet assurance,
Language laced through with prohibited promise;

Offering to hide me from the ever present cold,
From frigid winter being most of all I’ve known,
Offering to shield me from the bitter wind of envy, 
From the bruising hail of callous rage, 
Offering to shelter me from the flood of frustrated hopes,
From the reckless malice of the unsettled,
Offering to protect me from the rising tide of hatred, 
From the penetrating gaze of the anguished?

Be still, I beseech you.
Your discourse quickens the imagination,
Pledging to spill over the edges of dreams;
To pour into consciousness,
To course down the breast,
To fill the hungry heart
With precious reminiscences 
Of the one who uttered it.

Therefore then
Wield cautiously that fertile expression
Pulsing so near the wasted barren land,
Giving birth to thought disallowed
T’would rush flaming toward 
The dry parched field,
Gently whispering round the ear,
Easily caressing the nape,

Thought delicately
Meandering round the bare shoulders,
Pressing toward the ever willing flesh,
Thought of being lifted, invited in, 
Comforted and made warm,
Threatening to send one
Storming brazenly forth 
To capture a place 
One is forbidden even to visit.

L.L. Shelton, Copyright 2014

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