by Tina Harris

Because we’re like candles
or garbage cans with a center
waiting for a flame,

because we hope to have our fires lit
under a lamppost or in a doorway,

we primp in front of mirrors,
practicing smirks and smiles,
we sing in our best falsetto,

allowing the railroad ties we walk
instead of the beat of our own songs,
to dictate the rhythm of our steps,

forgetting that we are like pillows
or mounds of pine straw; little bits
of us are lost every time we fluff.

Tina Harris, former editor of Aura, UAB’s literary arts review, is currently earning a MA in creative writing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also teaches creative writing at Birmingham’s Work Release Facility for women.