From The Ashes

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It’s not that you’ve forgotten how to feel,
It’s just that scar tissue goes numb after so many years.
If you focus, you can still see the afterglow of all the hands that let go
Or held on so tight
That you still wake to the choking of them in the night.
There are things you are too terrified to unpack and know,
So you drag these boxes like Marley’s ghost with never a backwards glance.
No wonder you never felt comfortable in your skin,
You never stuck around long enough to unpack and begin to make it a home
You never stuck at anything long enough to figure out how to sit still and grow.
You used to smoke –
You said it’s what artists do, they burn,
But you yearned for hot ash in your lungs,
Hoped the creeping black tar pit flow
Had begun making its way through your blood like you thought it should.
Then you quit smoking too,
Unsure whether you wanted a post-volcanic fertile rainforest breath
Or because you couldn’t even stick to a long slow death.
The memories remain stained on white cotton sheets –
All the things you should’ve said and all the ways you blame yourself instead
Breathe –
It is not too late to make up a bed and remove the “room to let” sign,
It is so heavy a thing to be this full of fractured unknown light,
But it’s time to set that down.
On the days when you forget to breathe, I know everything feels like now,
But “now” is just temporary fragments that form a whole
And you are more than the sum of your splintered heart
Spread out in the shattered now’s you left behind.
So many bruised, hurt, ruined things here
You are only your past
In as much as you’re all the photos you ever take that never make it to a profile page.
Your shameful avoidance of your own shielded gaze,
The refusal to see gold in the split skin of your battlefield
Is not your everything.
You are the song the morning sings every day it gets a chance to greet the sunrise,
Saying “thank God it’s still here to climb into,
Thank god you never got the word goodbye to stick.”
You go ahead and quit all the things that don’t fit right.
I know…
I know this world is loud and has held blades pressed against your holy gates.
I know you think this life too cold-bright-flashing-fluorescent in
A never ending corridor of ash.
I know.
I’ve been there, too.
I have mourned the loss of myself under so many blood moons.
But here –
Press your palm to your chest.
Feel it pressing back.
That’s you.
That’s alive.
That’s lifeforce pulsing ruby,
Pulsing “true”,
Pulsing “here”,
Pulsing “dance crazy around the kitchen with me
If it helps the fear and sadness shiver into something new,
Something on the way to free”.
You shed all the skins that are ready to peel,
You feel every inch of every now yet to come and you breathe that rainforest breath.
You breathe fresh clean cool air from some higher place.
You put that box down, you hear me?
You’re home now.
You can stay.

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