I never claimed to be heartless.
My skin is no pretty penny
despite how many times
I have found myself scattered
at the bottom of some Kansan well
that turns bubbling caldron
only when you’re around.
I was always much more yellow
and spindled than the next girl;
I never owned a red pair of shoes.
I never had to cling so hard to a flying window
as to keep my point of view from spinning
too much (out of control).
Instead, I made a home of a green city
with paths made of mirror-stone
and if I had enough brain to make sense
of the directions I was given as a child,
I probably wouldn’t be so lost (all the time).
Still, I’m grateful to have found something more
than a course of action – you, my travelling companion.
You were the first to confess your cowardice,
Lion, who was once chained-up in catacombs
so dark and abysmal, with only your roars
to lull you to sleep in a cage so tight
as to leave epidermal impressions tallying
the time you spent confined (against your will).
I can see that it comes back to haunt you sometimes
and that I know not of whose whispers
robbed you of your courage (back then),
but I still see you dazzle when you don’t even know
that your strength was always too much animal
for some thief to handle (let alone make off with)
so let’s wander the roads made of yellow brick,
searching for our brains and backbones –
the things we knew we both had (all along)
for as long as the story will keep dragging on,
for it’s a fine dead horse that feels feather-light
when we both share the burden.
Only the Wizard knows that Oz has always been ours
for the taking and that witches (both good and evil)
can’t hold a candle-lit broomstick to a Lion and Scarecrow.
Screw being responsible for little girl pigtails
and to hell with the munchkins and their incessant small-talk!
Let’s paint the town green, or yellow, or rainbow!
Let’s paint each other’s faces with smiley-clown makeup
until we both can swallow our reflections again.
I never said I was a Tin Man
or claimed to be a hollow suit of armor to protect you
from the lion-eating shadows, but I am straw enough
for you to nestle anytime you need
or a friend
or an open road.