by Elizabeth Bennefeld
Eyes glance at me as I enter,
then turn away, indifferent.
Where once I found acceptance,
I see polite, but vacant faces.
My words are spoken
in a newly foreign language.
You have not changed.
It’s I who have become a stranger
through choices not approved,
prowling along uncommon paths
beyond the borders of community.
I will not walk your narrow roads
another night or day
to reattain belongingness
or buy lost camaraderie.
Going my own way, I will stalk
the visions that cry out to me
in the night from distant places.
A solitary hunter, I will seek new voices
that sing in harmony with my heart’s song.
An alien in your midst, no longer.
Copyright © 1996, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld. Published in Reflections & Visions, a W.H.E.E.L. chapbook (Nov. 1996); chosen for inclusion in Between the Sheets, an Australian anthology put out by the Australian Chapter of RWA (Marian Chivers & Sandie Rogitsch, eds., 1998). Audio edition published in the 2011 SFPA Online Halloween Poetry Reading.
Note: When I first showed this poem in rough draft to anyone, it was in an email to my mother, Rhoda. Her response was, “I see it was rally Sunday in your church, too, last week.” And, of course, it was, and that was the precipitating factor. Dear artist, thank you for permission to use your graphic. I have lost the link to your page.