The bird cannot fly.
My heart, thicker than frozen molasses, still stirs with a flutter like a cardinal’s wing. Her feathers on one wing are tattered and the limb is broken. Yet the good wing flutters with memory. She knows she is meant to fly; yet life crippled her so now she sits and each movement is a prayer for what could have been.
We all live there at times: the could have’s and would have’s and should have’s. But now sheds what never was for what is. The moment melts my shadows like the sun reduces an ice cube to nothing but a puddle that ends up evaporating and returning home.
I want to return to home these days.
They say home is where the heart it but mine feels like the cardinal’s broken wing. When a child, I thought heaven lived just beyond the clouds and my granny lived there, waiting patiently. I wait patiently. I wait for the moon to rise every night. I wait for the rain so I know my tears aren’t alone. I wait for change but change chases me up the street like a rapist and wants to violate me.
But that’s okay.
It would not be the only time I was violated. Once a boy with a name of Allfather took me in my sleep. I woke the next day with a naked man beside me.
My spirit is naked now. Not naked in the way a body is, needing clothes for decorum. My spirit is naked because I know it’s all I have. I feed it with friends. I court it with yoga. I soothe it with words. I take it from the heart behind the heart and let it breathe as if this second was its first breath. Then maybe I could begin again.
But every minute offers a new beginning to be built with another and another until there’s an hour come and gone. My hours sow difference the way children seek similarity. You have pink toes like me, I told my neighbors thrree year old granddaughter.
I want to be like everyone else.
I want to embrace what could have been as if truth lived in the conditional. I want to torch my mind with should and would but those minutes are built into years gone by.
All I want is a bit of peace. All I want is for life to not be easy but maybe not so hard.
My heart has broken in so many different ways but watching another suffer with the splinters of loss nails mine into a coffin that screams for a pyre.
Choice is a funny animal. It’s almost wily as a kitten and friendly as a puppy and curious as a toddler. Yet, make the wrong one and the debt can swallow you from head to toe.
I want to say life is good. Life is good. Like the T-shirts we all used to wear. Life is good. And many write the saying: It’s all Good, drives them crazy but my guess is they don’t know crazy like I do. Sometimes it’s all I can say: It’s all good. I don’t have to believe it to mean it. Truth always hides in the paradox. Because it is all good, being crippled or being able to fly, being the ice that melts or the sun in the sky.
Just sometimes life is harder than others but all I know is I only get stronger. I refuse to feel beaten though I might lose everything I value I cannot lose my heart or soul. My spirit sings even in the darkest nights and even though it’s but a few who listen, it’s the few who love that make what matters matter.
Just sometimes love takes a hike and then the trail looks broken and full of birds that cannot fly. But that’s okay. There are more trails. And birds that do fly.
And my heart may crack wide open but it will never completely close.
That’s life. And it’s all good.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel