Tried so hard to be empty
that you’re full of the loss,
tried so hard to be flawless
that you’re covered in flaws.
Yet you wear them like badges,
honor to the scout
who scouted out nothing
but a graceful way out.
Full of secrets and screams,
valleys of muddied snow,
of whispers and numbers,
the to’s and the fro’s
and the None makes you All until
you’re all that you see
and every bone in your body is deemed u n w o r t h y.
Your fingertips fire
over collarbone trenches,
World War Three etched into all of your crevices
for you are your world and you’re dying to end,
for you are This Body that craves to be fled.
There’s so much you could do
if only you weren’t you,
a soul’s just a stain if it’s bruised black and blue.
You hide and you hide til you’re glued to the spot,
digits in your brain til your digits, too, rot.
You’ve covered your tracks so that they do not see
but still, you almost wish someone’s hear your silent pleas.
But you’ll clench your eyes shut and
splay out on your back,
vertebrae crunching like
fresh bubble wrap,
curled into a ball so you’re smaller than thou
therefore greater than thou
perhaps out of the now.
For the now hurts infernally
but it’s still not enough
and you know you won’t stop
til your teeth start to rust.
Onward you’ll march
til the ground caves beneath you
and then you’ll free fall
til your core shatters through.
This is the plan, the Way It Must Be
for you found who you were when you got lost at sea.
Unless who you are isn’t cerebral battles.
Unless who you are isn’t linked chains that rattle
each time that you breathe, labored in, labored out;
it’s possible, darling, for lost to be found.
Perhaps who you are isn’t just-so-symmetric.
Perhaps who you are isn’t blunt razor edged.
Perhaps being strong doesn’t mean being frail.
Perhaps being tough doesn’t mean tooth and nail.
So stand up off the floor,
be gentle, be slow,
you’ve moved fast for so long that you’ll tremble,
but you’ll go.
Go back to the place where you first lost your mind,
sit in front of that mirror and make it a shrine.
Run your hand over the skin that it shattered and
feel the smooth edges of bones that were battered and
see how you’re healing, slow, soft, day by day,
see how the sting can slowly fade away.
Play that old song, the one that hurts just right,
fill up the tub and fall into the night.
Write til your hand cramps and laugh when it does for
it proves you are Human, not the concrete once-was.
Sit on the porch and watch God paint the sky,
sing ballads of nothings til your throat goes all dry.
Make yourself some tea with the future mixed in
and the sweet of what could be
will erase what could have been.
Color like you’re five again, hope like you’re ten,
spew all that you’ve learned out the tip of a pen.
Tuck yourself in and turn out all the lights,
know that you’re safe now;
you’ve fought the good fight.
Fill your stomach with goodness, your soul with delight
and never forget you can make your own L I G H T.
Fifteen years later, hold your baby girl close,
smell her sweet head and whisper what you know.
Tell her she’ll see out of eyes that are liars,
tell her that ears channel words made of fire.
And she’ll let it in, sure, you do hope she does.
Because sinking is the only way one can rise above.
Tell her she’ll live if she learns how to lean,
tell her she’ll thrive if she lets herself breathe.
Try so hard to be full that you’re bursting with life
try so hard to be happy til you don’t have to try.
Look yourself in the eyes, blue iris on blue,
sign a peace treaty on the purple lines you drew.
Place one hand on the glass,
bask in life born anew,
whisper to yourself,
“I’m gonna take care of you.”