The Divided Self – a poem

I pinch back the mint.

it’s like swallowing tears

or biting a too easily spoken harshness

from the lip.

Somehow, the mint comes back stronger.

The new stems that come out

are divided: two branches

instead of one.

it’s like those tears

in the swollen throat:

you’ve held back from pouring them,

so not only do you still have them,

you develop a new reflex,

a new branch of expression.

Sometimes you find yourself

with a bloody lip,

but it’s better than hearing the old tapes in your mind

playing yourself to yourself

over and over

knowing you can’t erase it.

High-yielding herbs: pinch for success | Amateur Organics

So I continue to pinch the mint,

year after year,

the top two leaves,

and the square stems branch out,


like the divided self

one side speaking

one side listening

nodding in agreement

while the wind

reminds the stem

that it’s roots, like the heart,

are most of it’s body anyway.

©  Doreen Shababy