It’s that fanged, clawed thing, back to taunt me and play with me and befuddle me. Creativity, of course. The way in and the way out, both at once, and neither; a thing unto itself.

So here am I, staring into its liquid eyes that are one moment golden and another indigo. It leaves stripes of blood on my arms and torso but I don’t dare gaze away. We are in a contest, me and it, me and me.

Its tail flicks back and forth. It is stalking me. I pursue it. It changes shape in my arms, then it vanishes.

Moments like these I take to Rumi, who is a kind of solace for those who are word-drunk, like me. I think Rumi would sneer at me and I hate myself for it, for the insecurity and the terror, as much as for the inadequacy.

I know better than to take too much wine, though the temptation is there. That way lies a folie a deux, a sharing of madness.

There are more constructive ways to offer up.

I stand outside with my arms lifted toward the sun and pretend that I am a crocus. The hard earth has asked for the freeze to release it, and purple blossoms are the first hint of hope. I am still saturated.

I am evanescent. The moment will pass. The welts will reveal themselves as mirages. There are paw prints in the loam, and I am left with longing, the old longing, the one that never goes away.

creativity within Traci Slatton


Traci L. Slatton

Author Traci L. Slatton is a graduate of Yale and Columbia, and the award-winning, internationally published author of a dozen books of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

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