Bear It I Must

The first (and only)

Time I visited a psychic for a reading,

He shivered as he grasped my hand and groaned under the weight of my energy.

“You have worlds upon your shoulders,”

He told me.

“You are buried beneath such a heavy weight. What is causing you such pain?”

Having gone in believing in nothing,

I blushed, feeling completely exposed and

Absolutely unprepared for vulnerability.

“I’m clinically depressed,” was the best answer I could muster and his eyes became wide as

He dropped my hand.

“You need to let it go. Whatever it is that is sitting on you will fight to hold you down.

You have to let it go or you will be crushed by it.”

And that is why I avert eyes in the grocery store, why I don’t speak too long at parties, why I do my best to stay home at all costs.

I live in fear not of the weight on my chest,

But that those around me will see it, will feel it,

Will kindly tell me to “let it go”

And I will have to say,

“This burden is mine to bear, and bear it I must.”

My Boy

My boy

Is smiling;

Grinning from ear to ear.

He’s got one dimple on his right cheek

And it just

Lights me up inside to

See me reflected in eyes

That bare even a mere resemblance to mine.

To call something your own

That breathes outside of your lines-

It’s heartbreaking

Ad beautiful

And like being drunk

On the finest wine.

Peace

My father and I had a complicated relationship.

We could talk for hours on the phone or

Giggle like girls over blackberry cobbler with ice cream and

He could tell stories like no one I’ve ever met;

He’d swoop you up into his world- his fantastic world-

And all you could do was

Pray and hold on.

But my father has done some pretty terrible things.

He has hurt so many people close to me.

And this is a bond I wish we didn’t share:

That our struggles have affected the ones we love.

Forgiving my father has come to define me

Because if I cannot take the broken memories and make them holdable

Who am I to ask the same of others?

I’d forgiven him for the past and forged onward,

Triumphant in small talk and small hugs and things that didn’t tip the impending iceberg.

He had been doing so well, we had been doing so well,

That I forgot things could go wrong.

But they did, just the other day,

The iceberg imploded

And he had words that cut me sharper

Than any knife or razor blade I’ve known and let me ask you this:

How do you forgive the past if it keeps reaching up under your pillow at night to grab you?

How do you forgive a man who will not forgive your space and growth?

The answer is you don’t have to,

And this says nothing about you and everything

About the one you are trying to forgive.

Survival Taught Me Empathy

I have been praised for my empathy.

As if it was a trait I had acquired by any means

Other than from the flames of survival.

There is no easy way to tell them

It was never my throat he held up

By the fireplace,

Never my body he pushed or punched or

Tried to drown.

It was never me,

And that never explained my pain away

Or eased my sister’s suffering,

Or my mother’s bruises,

Or the bodies of our dogs.

I learned empathy from the struggle I witnessed;

My own part in the matter relevant

Because I took in the pain,

Took on the pain,

Shook the pain,

Looked the pain

Right in it’s damn face

And held my sister,

Mother, closer,

Letting the fissure bind us like spiderwebs;

See-through but

Unbreakable.

Empathy wove our struggle together,

And made us stronger for the battles we each faced

In private.

Running

I used to crave the friction

Of toxicity in my life;

Something to lean against

That always pushed back.

My boss once said

Misery loves company and

I have found myself in the company

Of many a miserable man.

But you have come out of the shadows,

Running, and I never knew

I could crave stability

Like I crave your arms.

You are predictable in the most wonderful way.

I can always count on

Your love.

Melting

The way you touch me

Is like fire on my skin.

I melt when your fingers trace my body

And all that’s left of me are

The pebbles of a snowman’s eyes;

A puddle when the sun’s come out.

Avalanche

The pain of losing you:

Like an avalanche in my gut;

A cold tumble of every moment

You touched me and I felt alive.

Months of carefully

Structured happiness,

Delicate planning to not get hurt;

A mountain coming down all around me.

The snow and ice and turmoil,

This culmination of every beautiful thing

We ever had.

This will surely be the way I go-

Frozen to the spot,

Unable to get out of the way.

Go and Sit

Parted eaves of hanging flowers-

Dahlias, daisies, delphiniums divine.

Have you ever considered the magic of their powers?

Go and sit with them sometime.

Climbing vines and purpled buds

The blooms of blue bachelor’s buttons blind-

Some beauty softens us to love;

Go and sit with them sometime.

Letters to Strangers

PART THREE

For L

Now this one hurts to think about.

I can just see your scrawny ass

Swaddled in some expensive minimalist clothing,

Telling some tattooed person about our failed friendship;

How I wasn’t “healthy” for you.

Well, fuck you.

Your facade is the unhealthiest thing I’ve ever known.

Your life is nothing but walls and pretend.

I’m only mad you blocked me first.