Liquid

for many, the sun’s rising is a new start,
a spark of freshness and hope,
of some new unknown,
of possibility

but the sharp rays peeking through the black curtains were anything but;
they were sinister tentacles gripping and pulling her into the known,
which she fiercely wished was not

her blurry eyes were smeared with yesterday’s camo,
her mouth filled with sticky secrets she had tried so hard to swallow but never digest,
and this morning was just another in an endless slice of time that never seemed to pass

so she reached to the bedside table,
desperate, not for the glass of water,
but for the two small pills that would begin her swift transformation from a solid,
something rigid, too tight,
to liquid, not flowing and fluid,
but a stagnant pool of nothingness,
however fleeting it may be

Broken

everything he could know about her
could be found in the things she didn’t talk about,
and she hadn’t been talking about much of anything for quite a while

but it was time;
it had become a sludge so thick it filled her lungs,
a slow hardening that made it difficult to breathe

so she gritted her eyes and tucked the shame into her cheek so she could talk around it,
and she told him –
she was failing

the dignified satisfaction at what had, at first,
felt like a victory,
had slowly and methodically curdled,
and now it was rotten,
all of it

what was once her most admired characteristic –
her callous resolve,
her stern determination to succeed despite the turmoil,
her pulling herself up at the bootstraps, again,
was not enough

and no matter how she tried to feel proud of her decision to give in,
to let allow herself to fail if it was meant to happen,
she felt no victory in it

even in the beautiful slaying of her ego,
she felt no triumph in being reminded she was broken

Delicate

what do we allow to lie, hiding,
in the margins of our silence?
in the sinking absence of all impetus?

autumn leaves change not by choice,
but by necessity,
a silent, inevitable reaction to all time passed,
to all interaction that came before,
an inherent response to the wholeness of their surroundings,
to their experience of living

first, it is a slow loss,
almost imperceivable,
then a maelstrom of many stimuli at once,
eventually becoming the catalyst to something so beautiful and transforming,
it feels extraordinary,
because it is

then, there is a necessary letting go,
a freeing and frightening fall whose landing transforms into something fertile,
something that slowly,
not painlessly,
decomposes to feed their own roots,
to prepare them for days to come

what do autumn leaves know that we do not?
what lies in the margins of our silence,
in the delicacy of our awe?

Brittle

it’s the people you think you know that you really have to worry about,
because one day, you wake up,
and you don’t actually know them

you look at the person,
and they are so familiar it hurts,
but, somehow, they are also a stranger;
you know you love them,
but you no longer recognize them

and you realize the knowing is just a story you’ve been telling yourself,
the one that helps you get out of bed every morning

you knew each other once,
but, at some point, it became easier to write a story than to cross the awkward space that grew,
one silent, stiffening moment at a time

now it’s all too brittle,
and you just want them to leave

Combat

everything inside her is slowing down,
as if time has shifted,
the thunder that had fueled her movement and kept her perpetual,
is gone

she knows she’s dying,
and it seems a ridiculous death,
caused not by the rapid growth of sinister cells invading,
but by the painful slowing down

without the thunder inside her,
there is an unbelievable emptiness,
ash where fire used to burn

I see in her eyes the combat,
the fighting against the belief that when you no longer exist,
the world around you ceases as well

though she never thought much of herself,
she is grasping,
convinced the world is contained within her,
denying the fear that it all probably just goes on,
it all just continues

and I don’t know which is more painful to swallow

Roots

I still think about the way he listens to my secrets,
cradling the words and folding them into himself,
even as I continue to unearth the worst of me,
digging so deep,
I chip away the cracked to find the patinae,
so aged,
I taste rust in the back of throat

many days,
my bones feel as if they’re already drawing me
into the earth,
but he reminds me it’s just a returning
to the safety of our roots