Here’s you: unstable, emotional, not quite all there, not quite all right. Broken in mind, broken in heart, broken in body bone muscle eyes teeth, just none of it works anymore. Like, we’ve had a taste of what the world has to offer, and we, collective cells of Body, reject this premise. Yeah, you’ve tried harder, tried longer, held on stronger, medicated more to mute the mental noise—oh, just to sleep at night, anything just for a break from the dark shapes you awake to in your bedroom, shadows obscuring your wooden chair until the object behind the shadow comes into focus again.

Please God, whatsyourface, give me a rest from the crushing heaviness and abyss of pain, belly of the earth opening up like a sinkhole and you know there’s no coming out of it. Or you downspiral, and there’s a bottom to it, which looks like you on your exercise mat on the living room hardwood, your guts coming out through your nose in thick sinews of snot. Hey, so that’s what giving birth feels like, through the eyelids, past the epiglottis and out your tonsils. Cells are not designed to carry this much pain.

We. Give. Up.

Says the collective force of your body/mind/soul.

Here’s you, right before the knife. Turning the bullet between thumb and forefinger, your last flare prayer you’re shooting up before you load the chamber. Struggling with the childproof push-and-turn lid of the prescription you know could do some real damage, here’s hoping, here’s wanting them to understand in physical terms the gravity of your condition, here’s how it feels, like a hospital stay, like one last poem, like a bone breaking the skin

I. Am. Unable to go on.

Here’s you, on the brink of a bad decision, the worst decision.

I see you. I hear you. This is real for you, sure, but this is not Forever Real. And this is you, but this is not Redeemed You—this is you in the before photo, pre-miracle, pre-breakthrough, pre who you’ll be on the other side of your win. Don’t check out before your room service comes, girl.

Humour me, sad one. Let us dissociate together for a moment, shall we? See yourself as you are now, in your most abjectest state of misery—nay, end-of-the-world agony! Oh, glorious misery! Now, hold my hand here, and step back. Take one step back, maybe five, get some distance for a sec. That you? That’s not you, that’s not the real version of you, the eternal transcendant you—that’s you in process, warring out your joy, fighting for your life.

Let’s say a cheer for That You. Let’s be kind, rub her back a bit, those crying, aching shoulders. Let’s be tender with this raw heart, don’t make any sudden moves, like you’d approach an animal in the wild. We move slower and get down lower, unthreatening.

Now I’m gonna blow your world open.

Here’s Real You: head up and back, teeth glinting in sun ‘cause, guess what, you’re laughing, head thrown back into sun, throat singing with the opposite noise to weeping, making laugh lines as we watch. Oh, this is a Laughing One, this one can hum through grocery aisles, light with song, a heart like a balloon always praising Up Up Up. Oh, she’s a rejoicer, she knows how to be thankful, how to look for hope where there is none.

It’s an internal vision, it’s the sight of the newly blind who remember how sunrise looks, day in, day out, even though there’s night in equal measures, that’s not where she rests her eyes, no, but on the horizon line that fairly trembles in the foreknowledge of dawn. With that kind of track record, day following night ad infinitum, stretching backward and forward through time as far as east is from west, how can we doubt the light will come?

Oh, she’s a hoper, and it’s like a battle weapon, it’s like a light saber, sending those storm clouds a’running. Hope does that to the atmosphere, sends doubt and fear and despair packing.

Here’s you, herald of daybreak, breaker open of skies, messenger of life.

OK, so, now choose. The version of you, you want to be. It’s available, and possible, and happening even right now, as you see Light-Filled You splashing in fountains of happy bubble. It’s happening, girl, that’s you now, on the inside, making your way out.

Let’s look at what is real and walk in that direction, toward the sound of children playing.

October 17, 2016 — Alexandra Hunter
Tags: poetry