Turning

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Autumn arrives in the air all of the sudden
Nodding to me it’s time, she advances

The horizon will darken, trees age in a day
Fruit molds and drops, our garden dies back

Too old to mourn the ending summer, I turn,
Flush red and gold, mature fast as a sapling

When night comes early I am ready to greet her
Shedding my guilt like a snakeskin, or leaves

All fall down, together under a turning sky
We recognize that growth has many faces

Epilogue

You made me feel important; now I realize I am worthy of life without your validation.

You told me you were on my side; now I understand that you preyed upon my loneliness.

You told me you would die without me; now I see you took advantage of my empathy.

You tried to shut me off from life; now I am thriving without you.

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The Foreign Feeling of Hope

I am feeling a little better right now.

Hopeful.

It’s like catching a glimpse of a flickering candle down a long, dark hallway.
I want so badly to hold onto this light.
I want so badly to feel better.
I am throwing myself into doubt, the unknown, the darkness.

Please help me…
Friends, universe, Wakan, that which we cannot understand.
I have to believe in you, or I will have nothing left.

Tightrope

I’ve been walking a tightrope between life and death,
waiting to see on which side I will fall.
I’ve become so wilted, anguished and bereft,
tangled up in your miserable thrall.

A ladder of scars ascends my sharp ribs,
each rung marking a body filled with pain.
I cannot climb down now that I’ve reached the top;
the winds howl for my soul in seductive refrain.

The decision lies now in my quaking two feet,
whether I’m to fight on or surrender.
All alone high above tiny houses and streets,
I realize I’m the only contender.

Falling pt II

I admit it.
I am afraid of my heart
beating and breaking.

I am afraid of losing control
or giving anyone control
because you always held it
so tightly in your fists
yielded as a weapon.

I admit it,
I am afraid of your heart
feeling nothing
for mine.

Because you never admitted
to the way you hurt my body
over and over again.
Or how you scarred my memory,
and later
rubbed salt in the wounds.
Or how you ignored my tears
and said get used to it.

I admit it,
you conquered me
as you did
everything else in your life.

I will not go quietly

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You told me today
you would drag me like a ball and chain
underwater

But I will not go quietly
into the abyss
I will arrive kicking and screaming
knowing there are more hands to grasp
and seashores to wander
still blood oranges to peel
and savor like sunsets over the bay

I will not go quietly
I will arrive angrily
knowing there are more lives to touch
girls to convince they are brilliant
more lonely pets to take home
still men with emotions to embrace

this time I will not go quietly
I will not look at you and say
it is too painful
this time I will be prepared

Irregular Beat

My heart is wrong.
It doesn’t want the right things.
Wrong for craving the eyes that
appraise my hips and trail down my thighs.
Wrong is how much mascara I wear
even though my eyelashes are good enough
just the way they are.
Wrong is my desire for married men,
just because they are unattainable but it’s not right,
my desire for fresh scars, for the feeling of my jeans
growing too loose and slipping off.
My heart doesn’t want the right things.
But I have been there and back.

Yet still, my heart is wrong.
It has an irregular beat–
the doctor said it, so it must be true.

And wrong are the people who say,
“You should be happy, because you are so beautiful.”
Wrong is the feeling that while my face
may remotely approach beauty, my heart
is the twisted, the grey, and the withering–
the decay of a girl who used to be happy.

My heart is wrong, I think–
maybe my thoughts are wrong instead.
Maybe what’s wrong is in my head.

Wrong is the way that I will end this poem,
for it is not with redemption
as you wanted it to be,
not with happiness or joy,
nor with triumph,
but with survival.
Sometimes success
is just plain survival
and that is not wrong.

Little Things

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People always say It’s the little things. It really is.
The little things give us the will to survive.
It’s the pink marmalade glow above the bay against the dark forest I walk through
on the way home. The frozen dirt beneath my boots is hard as concrete,
tap tap tap. Dripping icicles that dangle like fangs in the mouth of a cave.
The things like a child’s cherub face split wide in a grin or
a lilting melody that catches me off guard. The fire dancer swirling his flames in circles
and loops, igniting the air. People will stop to stare and applaud.
It’s the crunch of leaves beneath my sneakers, announcing autumn.
The birdsongs of dawn as I walk to school, alone on crisp mornings.
It’s the emptiness of the beach in winter, snow meeting sand.
The wind howling its favorite tune, bending around the boards of my house.
It is me clasping a mug of hot tea, a cat nestling into the lap of someone
talking soft into the phone. The flash of a stranger’s smile.
Sometimes I forget these things, but it seems that they always return.
They return when I need them most.