bystander

“Slowly”, “Where the Light Is” and “Bystander”

by Tejan Green

Bystander

Slowly

I wish you would take the time you need.

Enter and enter again until clarity comes

and you leave with all the answers.

We talk of the weather to avoid talk

of the things that matter, though the weather

routinely tells us off. The river sounds

as we wrap ourselves in the moonlight,

eyes closed and not willing for the sun.

The pleasure of wanting nothing more from a moment.

Light escapes from the windows of dreamers;

silhouettes dashing in and out of sight.

Want, the word of the moment. Need, the next.

A day to forget, but a few hours promise to dominate

the memory. There once was a day

where all we paid attention to was the body---

the texture of skin, where the bones protruded

and the colors deepened. Time vanished.

We wrote and colored. I told you that we were too alike

for this to last. And now we are here.

Where the Light Is

The whispering leaves conspire

to free you as you grow your wings

like the butterfly you were

when they said you weren't. What is broken


was once whole--may be broken again

--will be whole again.


This is the resilience of our ancestors

alive in the blood and the dream

you hold like your newborn,

too precious for this world.

Bystander

After Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man


Invisible bodies hold onto themselves.

They have to believe when no one believes.

They develop patience as a necessity

for survival and hope that maybe someday

someone will notice the realness

of invisibility. They stay woke. Awake.

Involved. Within the margins. They might be

the best observers of people’s idiosyncrasies;

doing the work of paying careful attention.

They learn to live with less. Expect less, if anything.

They remain quiet until

they burst open. There’s no in-between.

Invisible bodies might leave the room. You didn’t notice?

Invisible bodies manage to still care.

Invisible bodies have to be stronger than they want to be.

About the Author

Tejan Green

Tejan Green is a cross-genre writer, editor and educator. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Peacock Journal, The Bookends Review, and Platform Review, among other publications.