fairer

“Fairer Hands”, “Dotted or Solid” and “Diploma for Daedalus”

In Poetry Issue Eight by Leigh Fisher

Diploma

Fairer Hands

If I sit in the chair, it’s like there’s no one really there

If I make a small request, regardless of how simple it is,

Red tape binds my limbs together, tying my wrists 

Encircling every fair finger, binding them to each other

Until they’re rendered useless


But of course, if he asks the same question

The path of golden bricks is laid out before him

Decorating the road, making it shine to the point of blinding

Because that path is clear of debris, ready before he can even take a step

Because the answer to his question is a simple yes


If I want to move, climb up the next rung of the ladder

I have to try to grab ahold of weak, rotten wood

So worn and aged it barely clings to the ladder’s sides

It feels too weak to pull me up, yet

What choice do I have but to try seizing it?

For the rung above it is too high and out of reach


The wood cracks beneath my fingertips as soon as I

Try to haul myself upward

It splinters and I feel the tiny pieces of wood scratch my skin as it falls

I wince at the sting and cling to the side of the ladder

But I can’t stay still, even for a moment


For right beside me, there’s another ladder

Built of strong wood, steadily planted on the ground

It doesn’t shake or tremble

The rungs are close together and are easily scaled

He can race to the top with such ease


If I don’t inch my way up the side

Trying to scale a ladder that was never made to be climbed

I’ll be left too far behind to ever reach the same height

Splinters cut into my fingers

The dark wood becomes stained with flecks of red


All of these harsh trials are simply

The way of the world for someone born with fairer hands

Dotted or Solid

In youth, colors are driven

outside the lines

by hands tightly

clasping crayons


Too eager about finishing

to heed the outlines


With time, should hands steering

wheels stray outside the lines

the cost is much higher

than sloppy colors


For should someone go too far

break beyond the solid yellow line

the only color smeared

would be red


As a child, it was a goal

to draw within the lines


As years pass, the goal

is obeying the road’s lines

Diploma for Daedalus

It’s a hurdle, they say

almost impossible to find your way


It’s a battle, so I’ve heard

but I have yet to find the right word


A labyrinth has many entrances

only one exit but countless dead ends

But these openings that seem to promise advance

really just serve to diverge your path

leading far away from the maze’s heart


It’s futile, so they say

just a way to delay

the inevitability of working

each and every day


It’s too dangerous, I’ve heard

but I’ve yet to find a foe too foul to fault


In this maze, with unmoving walls

Stone as cold as the people you smile at

but could never truly stand with as a confidant

There are grins and guises, cheerful masks

simply existing to lead you down the wrong path


It’s a risk, they warn, but others say 

nothing ventured, nothing gained 


Don’t be a fool, they repeat

but I have a talent for landing on my feet


Shelves of books worth a pound of gold

stand erect on many of these maze walls

Dusty tomes that seem worth more than a human life

but a contract of words insists they're needed

Forcing you to surrender every cent you have


Racing through the maze, getting deeper

falling down into the darkest depths of debt

Chasing it all for a scrap of paper.

Navigating the darkest corridors

with little regard to getting lost along the way


Be sure you’re certain, they insist

you can’t change your mind, they caution


At the heart of the maze, where alternate paths

have been cut off

There lies the paper with your name etched in gold.

It should be a key to the future, a light to the maze’s exit


But was it all worth it? is what they’ll ask

Did I make the right choice? so you’ll ask yourself


Will this ever even help? thus you wonder


For as you exit the labyrinth

That taught you many things,

not all of which you needed

You quickly realize that with this degree in hand,

you’ve just stepped out into another wilderness

About the Author

Leigh Fisher

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Leigh Fisher is from New Jersey and works in an office by day, but she is a writer around the clock. She is a historical fiction enthusiast, with an avid interest in Chinese history. She has been published in Five 2 One Magazine, The Missing Slate, Heater Magazine, and Referential Magazine.