Insides Out by Becky Jones

Long-time member and enthusiastic volunteer for Straw Dog Writers, Becky Jones sometimes leads bereavement writing groups, sometimes gardens, and sometimes tries her hand at poetry. She is poised to transition out of a significant role in her life and wonders what magic might happen once that door closes. (Becky had the role of Details Wrangler for the Pandemic Project)

Insides Out

“Isn’t it odd. We can only see our outsides, but nearly everything happens on the inside.”
From The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Last night,
on one of a million zoom calls,
some friends and I shared
our worries for loved ones,
our gratitude for technology and everyday kindness,
the new-found inner quiet that seems to
appreciate this different way of intimacy,
the spark of hope that we might finally
stop the degradation of the earth
and all our fellow travelers on it.

I saw my smiling face on the screen,
but noticed the frowns of two others.
Were they distressed, or simply resting?
I relaxed my smile a bit to see,
felt my jaw resist.
I had forgotten that smiling takes an effort
that frowning does not.

As I coaxed all the muscles
of my face to relax to neutral,
those beneath my eyes
let go their work,
and the cup that holds my tears
slowly spilled its contents,

drawing from a deep well of sadness—
for arrogance that talks too loudly
and ignorance that turns a blind eye
which, together, are responsible
for too few tests, too many deaths
and countless broken hearts.