Adrian S. Potter: Tell Them a Story

Beatrice Onstage, by Mary Hatch, 1988, oil on canvas paper, 13” x 17”



Tell Them a Story

without tragedy, pretend happy endings exist.
Toss anxiety inside a closet, nail the door shut,

and never let it escape. Don’t tell them about
the sin that gets unraveled and hymned out

every Sunday morning, just to be stitched back
into the fabric of flashy clothes the next Friday

night. Tell them something vaguely comforting:
Adirondack chairs on a lakeshore, a soft breeze

nudging clouds through the flawless blue sky.
Tell them the heart of a hummingbird beats

faster than its wings, even if you’re not sure
that’s accurate. Don’t tell them about the ache

of a bruised soul or how it feels to be a wishbone
pulled apart by desire and duty. Don’t tell them

how lust chews its carnal claim into your hide
and spits you out whole for the world to judge.

Adrian S. Potter


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