all these layers, all these masks
they sometimes seem so
but i am different things to different people
and i am afraid to shift the mask and to reveal
my raw essence of all my truths may make
the people i love most run from me taking with them
all of their love—
i want to live in authenticity,
and yet i understand not everyone deserves
to know every intimate detail of me;
so if i don't invite you into the garden of my heart
don't take it personally—
i guard it fiercely so i can protect
myself from those who would rip apart me
and my dreams just for daring to exist.
Linda M. Crate's poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has ten published chapbooks the latest being: Hecate's Child (Alien Buddha Publishing, November 2021) and three micro-chapbooks Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018), moon mother (Origami Poems Project, March 2020), and & so I believe (Origami Poems Project, April 2021). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018).