I just realized,
like a couple minutes ago,
that all I am
is made up of collaborations.
Joint efforts between me and you
and you and me
and me and him
and her and me.

Bits of you smeared into me.
Cooperations and associations.
Collusions and alliances.
Combination of participation.

Under all the layers
is there a woman to be found?
I’ve absorbed and been painted over.
What you see…
or think you see…
is it me?
Or what you wanted me to be?

Look into my eyes.
Is it you? Or him? Or her?
Or histories or futures or the present,
the present, now presence.
Crystal blue cooled to glacier ice.
Do you see fire or reflection?

I have consumed
all the couplings that have gone before
and now… now…
now I don’t know anymore.
What I thought was real is just a layer,
peel it back, is that it?
Nahhh, it’s him. It’s her.
It’s what you wanted me to be.

I’m no blue shining star.
I’m not a future or past tense.
I don’t know who I am but
I’m not any of those things.
I think…. now I’m not so sure.

My puzzle was completed….
until it wasn’t.
Until like five minutes ago
when I became aware,
deep down the hallways of my mind,
that I’m just a piece. A layer.
A shade of grey.
A shadow.
A part, a slice, an echo, a memory,
a supposition, a paragraph on a page
(perhaps dog-eared,
or highlighted or more likely
crossed out for the cliffs-notes).

Maybe you’re the ink in my well
but I’m just a cross-bar or a tittle.
In the end,
I suppose I should be happy for that,
my part as a small gesture of a minor role
in your play.
This collaboration remains.

I tried out for the part,
but you waved me stage right,
check-marked your box
and called the next one front-and-center.

even with all this knowledge,
I cling to this communion
and union of minds
and past lives
and stars we’ve traveled.

Look for me beyond the arrow’s aim,
you’ll find me,
my hand where my heart used to be,
a betrothal in waiting.

tara caribou | ©2020

Read this and more in my poetry book, Four.

12 thoughts on “Collaborations

  1. Really nice. It just made me think of how society, the world, life is all just one collaboration both on a personal and universal level, although this takes a much more somber tone than those ideas. Love how easily you transfer moods in your poems to the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful, Tara. My smile widened with each paragraph (I’m not kidding)!
    I do feel that we’re an accumulation of all things and people around us, unique in the sense how each of our associations affect and mould us. Kinda gives another dimension to ‘We’re in this together’. 😆😆

    Liked by 1 person

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