Sometimes when we fold ourselves at night, we pretend to be tiny origami cranes. Delicate, unfeeling, simple.
Sometimes when the dark finally sets in and shadows come to play, we pretend they’re our drunk dreams warding off the bad ones.
Sometimes when our eyes have to be pried open in the dimly lit room and the ache sits so deep in the morning air, we pretend it’s Christmas morning just to get out of bed. We’ve got a life to live, let that be our gift.
There are days our heads feel so heavy and our chests feel like caskets. There are days our skin feels ragged and our muscles feel sore. There are days feeling our heartbeats is the scariest thing in the world and each breath feels like razors scrapping on our every soft surface.
But our legs still carry us and our necks still hold our heads. We manage to survive another damn day because that’s what we do: we survive.
When I look around to see all of the survivors, the warriors, the ones who made it, I see lights that refused to dim. I see hearts that didn’t get the best of us and I see bravery in the exhaustion.
And I say congratulations.
Who is there
when the lights go out
and the cold knocks on your window
to hold you?
Who lets you know
you’re safe when your own lungs
are afraid to open
for fear of letting in a draft?
Who is there when they are so busy
and your life is so stagnant
and you don’t know how to say:
Who can pry open your mouth
when you have tied it with
black lace so pretty, so hurtful
and it looks like you’re smiling?
Who can reach down with their hands
to help you from the grave you’re digging
when all you manage to do
is flinch at the thought?
I can’t think about it. If I think about it, I feel and if I feel it…
I miss it.
I start missing my heart before it was covered in scars and I miss him when we had no lives to get on with. I miss her and her outrageous laugh and the way she looked up to me.
I miss being looked up to.
I miss the freshness of my blood and the way every feeling hit me like an electric shock. Every breath would fill the outline of my chest, take it’s time on the soft parts of my mouth, and become an invisible cloud I could still somehow see.
If I think about it, I’m older. I know more and I’ve felt so much and I know how to keep things at bay. Every arm’s length-distance I place between me and whatever-it-is makes me wish I could go back to how I was before I hated things touching my heart.
Maybe I’m not as messy as I once was. Though, was it all bad to be that raw to the world? To drink from a glass and let it dance from the edge to your tongue and feel it like it was the first time?
I can wield my words like magic, but what’s the use if I know the secret behind the tricks?
Maybe I want to be awed by it, too.
I want to feel for the first time, again.
We break and
We fold and
Everything we ever were
For the chance to
Be believed in, to
Be found, to
And it hurts
But we smile and
We laugh and
Because the truth hurts and
Fake it ‘til you make it,
But all I want to know is:
Will I ever make it?
I’ve built a bridge between
two worlds that fit
two sides of me
It creaks with weight and
looks like neither side (of course)
and it does only
what it’s meant to
On one side you see a burning building
and it’s so beautiful you can’t help
but look at it from a distance
yet still want to touch it
You think it’s burning the
rough edges and what will be left
is a pure diamond that will congratulate you
for staying and not touching
But it only burns,
new kindling added from the same
broken down houses
The other side has soft edges,
and a pink tint, like looking through
or an old photograph
Something about it makes you feel
right at home, and even the dark
is only for sleep
and not for nightmares
I sit on the bridge to guide
those who find me
but I’m stuck in the middle;
a blockade from one side
and the next
You can find me in the lock-jawed silence of every word I have never spoken when it meant the most – when the bombs were planted at the base of every heartache and mistake, and I only stood watching, mouth zip-tied shut.
I let the ruins of shattered memories fill me with ghosts I have never learned to forget, and at night they come out of my throat like flames.
Can you find the war still going on behind my eyes, and can you feel the loss inside me?
The shadows feel like old friends with daggers pressed into my back, but I hold them with love I’ve never stopped feeling. I whisper with my last breath that I will save them, when I never could. When they could never save me.
He called it trauma.
I didn’t even think the shell of myself was so cracked.
How was I supposed to know this is what it feels like when the war has gone on for years? Even though the white flags were raised, no one can let go of the anger.
I didn’t realize I was still dealing with the aftermath.