The Menopausal Recluse
Courts the Ghosts of Good Will

Terri Brown-Davidson

I stalk all the salesclerks,
don’t think them deranged
but “privileged in eccentricity,”
the wall-eyed man with wispy blond locks
who whispers like Truman Capote,
the nattering grayhair who fumbles with her cane
along cracked and yellowed linoleum.
This is my silent and secret world of Boo Radleys at dusk,
the Nebraska “shunned” who, stuttering,
marble-minded, quivering, shamble about
among stained and blood-splashed sweatshirts, clocks
that can’t announce minutes, a broken-toothed Nutcracker
courting an invisible Clara
inside a rubbed-glittering, red-velvet case. It’s not that I celebrate
weirdness. Deformity. It’s that I’ve learned to crave off-kilteredness
as Sanity. Books mend me...words. Even while
I bleed: menopausal witch. A litany of dusklit rituals I intone,
renouncing the normal,
reverberates like Big Ben’s chimes inside a mind
that empties and fills with the blackest midnight tides,
a mind that scarcely seems mine
though it’s the silence I sink inside
until it streams like a river winding through rocks,
coursing through black-green moss
clinging to each thought
until I wax and wane as eloquently as the tide,
a blood-drained childless loner.

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