Caleb James K. | 2 Poems

Caleb James K. | 2 Poems

Urban Petting Zoo

We don’t leave home much these days

          too dangerous with the turtle shells

                    falling from the sky

                              leaving behind explosions of sun

that tan our skin to the bones



And we don’t much like the noise

          from the great metal elephants

                    stomping through our yard

                              and crushing the garden

beneath their rubber feet



Nor do we care for the weather

          hot and wicked air

                    with clouds so dense you can grab them

                              but you wouldn’t dare

because they make it hard to breathe



Hollow bees also cause problems

          they sting the soul with venomous tips

                    and are so fast you can’t see them

                              though their buzz makes you aware

when they are passing by



Hawks fly overhead

          searching for fresh prey

                    they strike without warning

                              even when they aren’t hungry

because to them it’s just a game



One day my daughter wanted to play

          to go outside in the rain

                    I told her it wasn’t safe

                              and she should stay inside

to hide from all the beasts



She wouldn’t listen to me

          would run outside to dance

                    wanted to celebrate the fat raindrops

                              to feel them hit her young skin

but I told her it wasn’t safe



We had stayed inside for a month

          hiding in our cave

                    where no beasts could reach us

                              they wouldn’t even think to look

in a place so sad and empty



Yet my daughter wanted to dance

          and play outside for one day

                    to feel alive for once

                              in her young, young life

and I understood and said okay



Just a minute, no more,

          and dance with joy,

                    like a flower soaking up the rain”

                              and she did

but the hawks were hungry that day

See Yourself

You say you’re not beautiful

a beautiful lie

You hate your crooked smile

a tease of symmetry’s myth

Your buttermilk skin sours your mood

a taste to savor

You obsess about your weight

a number with little meaning

You constantly change your hair color

a distraction from everything else

You detest the mirror but can’t stay away

a reflection of faults individually crafted

You wish you were different

a carbon copy of a secret

You want to look like pictures

a mirage that doesn’t exist

You cry at night

a model customer

You shop for extravagance

a subject of Victoria

You want to look elegant

a false sense of pride

You spend all your money

a perfect trick

You look into the mirror

a tear creeps down

You feel no better

a rueful existence

You look through rusted truths

a set of eyes to deceive

You need only see the world through

a view that’s not your own

You say you’re not beautiful

a beautiful lie

Caleb James K. hails from Washington, Pennsylvania where he lives with his amazing wife, fearless husky, and two cats. A former freelance writer, Caleb recently switched his focus to writing fiction and is currently working on his first novel. You can follow his writing journey at or on Instagram @calebjames1986.

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