May 12, 2020

Of the things you’ve Survived.


First, the gauzy creation

A hot swirl of particles, of poetry

Explosion. Expansion.


Slide the words along your lips:

Hydrogen, helium

Elemental and elegant


The single cells that multiplied like magic

The way that Atom sounds like Adam

And the millions of years it took

To bake galaxies and stars


Consider now the wet world of gills and globes

The parch of land beneath your belly

The slither and silt

The painful sprouting of fur

The morphing, the mutations and multiplications

Think of everything that had to unfold

For your ancestors to enter the same dim room


Think of the pain you’ve endured, the other-inflicted:

The fistful of broken hearts, the blistered patience,

The estrangements, betrayals, the longing


Think of the self-inflicted: the drunken drives to escape the broken hearts,

The choices that drip with regret

The ones you kissed and the ones you never got the chance to

The lies you’ve dwelled in, a flimsy tent passed down through the generations, familiar and fatal

Like I’m not good enough, like I don’t deserve love, like I’m invisible

The venomous beliefs you haven’t even put words to yet

But that live deep within you,

Steering you astray


Remember all the worlds you’ve swung between

The phone calls that trapezed you from one life to another

Before and After etched in blazing neon

And the nameless, groundless space between worlds


Think of the wars your grandfathers fought,

Nestled inside of you, twirls of fear and fight

The dense, muscular will to survive


Think of your grandmother’s grief and gripes,

All her tender and wide losses

An ocean of scattered beads

You still sometimes wade in


And what about this?

This wild inconvenience?

This distrust and uncertainty, this desperate longing for normal?


These are the strands of strength you will weave into the molecules of those to come

These are the stories that steep us, that we will spend our lives trying to explain

Remember this? You might whisper through the folds of the universe

Hoping it will help them trudge through their own wide wars

That you can only dream of

Like a small, spiraled seashell on a sullen shore

Full of foreign tales, invisible and infinite


Like the wars your grandmother fought

Like your grandfather’s grief

They felt just like this


When you forget why it hurts so much to become

Remember expansion, explosion, inflation

Remember the patience it took to form stars

That would shatter and be knit into planets, into bones

With names like constellations:

Tibia, ulna, sacrum


Or the losses unseen by the human eye

The ancient love you can’t prove exists

But that squats in your sternum

Silver and sure.

Because the holiest of things can never be lost

Can only change form, recast, revise


So make a list

Of all the heartbreak

Of all the restless, too-bright Sunday afternoons

Of the births you’ve endured, blood-drenched and yawning

Of all the times you’ve shrived yourself like a hermit crab

And still, somehow, survived.


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