Shadows

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Art by Vicky Wang, staff artist

Walking to my car from the grocery store

I stepped over a stranger’s shadow,

looked at where its eyes should have been and felt

a familiar tug

a passing greeting from a friend

a nod in the hallway, maybe

a muttered “how are you”

strangely familiar for the cast shape of a body

that wasn’t even mine


-- that’s the thing with shadows, though

they are as much ours as they are not:

funhouse mirror puddles of gray behind us

beside us

before us

unrecognizable even to their source

(Have you ever jumped at your own image on the wall?)

Reminder: even the molecular certainty of our own bodies is malleable,

see: spilled and distorted on the asphalt


It is easier to know them for a second:

A single image of heather limbs

Mocking strides over curbs and shopping carts

Familiar because it does not have to bear my resemblance

(When I see my shadow I feel the need to test its motions,

raise my hand as though it might not be mine)


Even as I type this, my shadow sits beneath me,

hazy hands hovering over the keys, we link fingertips with each keystroke

still it seems foreign --

Too flat to move like I do

Too lifeless to hold me within it

Almost a mockery: “look how simple I can make you”


so between two silhouettes, I choose to befriend the simpler shade

a child of angle and sunlight, fruit fly lifespan

maybe in this moment I know that woman’s shadow better than she does

and somehow, that makes up for

all that I will never know

and the dissonance between myself and

the sun starved spot trailing at my heels



#poetry

#shadow

#connections


26 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
Recent Blog Posts

The Tutor

When my best friend Bell started dating her boyfriend, she told me that she felt special. He was twenty-one, five years older than she...

©2020 The Incandescent Review

Email | Instagram | Submit | Join