petrified.

I am nothing but a conglomeration
of rotten fears, woven together
by spare moments of bravery.
Even writing this
seems like a step over a chasm
I had never dared cross, before.

//

This is my story
& it deserves to be told.

//

I have been afraid
for most of my life,
no matter how short of a time
that really is.
I have endured nightmares
of shadows & ghosts
& darkness that swallowed me;
of silent screaming
that always left me
waking up
like someone had wrapped chains around my chest.
Constricted breathing would greet me
in the mornings.

//

I have crawled through
caverns of trepidation as people
came & went in my life;
people who have threatened to leave &
pleaded to stay.
I am a vessel
for unwanted memories.
I have watched from windows
as blue night overtakes the sunset,
as light pollution covers up the stars.
I have heard thunder & thought
it was a train crashing—
thought it was something smashing—
because I am conditioned to disastrous sounds.

//

I have sat in passenger seats &
contemplated near-death like it’s a letter
to be delivered in the mail.

//

I have seen earth & thought
When will the grass grow back?
I have seen trees & thought
It won’t be long ‘til it falls.

//

I have hidden under blankets like
they are fortresses from the outside world,
& I have learned that walls are not
as thick & impenetrable
as they appear.
I have learned that silence is terrifying,
but even more unbearable
are conversations with no meaning;
talking & not meaning
a single word.

//

I have seen the eyes of the people I love most
& I have seen those eyes cloud
with the worst kind of tears.
I have held sobbing emotions
like they’re swaddled & needy—
I have held lives like cups of coffee
on those mornings when I am
still not awake.

//

I have stared into mirrors
& I have witnessed the way my features twist
when what I see is not satisfactory,
& I am beginning to believe I will never come to terms
with the image of the reflection.
I have collected writings like they are photographs:
the only way to remember
certain faces I have worn,
certain facades I am tired of parading.

//

I have poured myself into
some of the deepest,
most nonsensical ramblings
& thought
It is still not enough
even when, after, I am
bone dry & my fingers are numb
& my mouth is heavy
from the words I could write
but could not say.

//

I have lost more than a childhood toy
at the park; I have lost
reasons.

//

In all of my explaining,
I’ll come to the why
& my search comes up blank
& my hands grasp for something
& I am slowly falling.

//

Now I live for calendar scribbles
& the shrivel of hope that
tomorrow will be better
& the next night
I will sleep better
& somehow,
nothing will hurt as much.

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6 thoughts on “petrified.

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