By Danielle Bennett
April ran me down,
left me looking at the backside of a pig herd.
At the end of the month, mud thick as thighs
was smeared across my eyelids and lip corners,
and all over my spirit.
So tired, this voice I am losing is both a red and white flag
that tells a more honest story than my mouth does.
I’m tired of the discipline it takes to say no.
Of the daily quits and the daily asks.
Each message a jagged skip and whatever groove I had finally slid into.
Tired of being a thread always pulling through.
Of showing up to a keyboard, unimpressed by anything I have to offer.
I, too, am unimpressed by my own biography.
Tired of wanting to claw my way through skin until I am an indistinct skeleton,
slinking out unnoticed.
Perhaps then I wouldn’t be held by the fire of my own splintered dreamboards.
Shrink me tiny enough to escape failure by any on of my hundred definitions.
Help me believe that this art was only ever an experiment
I’m tired of doing my best.
Of telling the sugar to let me go.
Of being looked at like the next shiny trophy.
A feeling like a ladder rung, like an empty promised land.
I’m tired of what it takes to get clear,
of how heavy the fighting heart weighs in.
Of the “not quite, almost, just wait here”.
Of the questioning of my own aloneness, of my own enoughness, of my own too-muchness.
April reminds me that I am a six-figure grave and whoever taught me what that would mean.
Where is the triangle of blame that promise me relief one day?
Where is the relief in any of this one day?
The truth is, I am only bothered when I think or I know I have completely lost control.
My reputation, the feels, the knowing.
I have chased and begged them home, but I never learned to lasso.
So I’m doing my best for the thousandth time to actually let it go.
And everyone who’s actually nailed crow pose or hit five miles
know that repetition expecting a different result isn’t always insanity.
Sometimes it’s just a way of growth.
I am flaking mud.
Really I am left in no one’s dust.
I am miles behind and I am still winning.
I will never forget my own name.
I am letting us all off my hooks.
I am showing up, even when other people don’t.
I am not forcing resolve,
because I’m not sure that’s the way life folds.
But I’m reconciling versions of myself,
because I want them to meet one day and laugh at how right we swore we were.
I am not made of formulas, so I can no longer respond on your cue.
I’m gonna start asking questions that may make me seem slow,
but I am labeling that a good four letter word
And I figured out that two pieces of dark chocolate a day are not adding more inches to my waist,
than nearly three decades of stress I asked this body to stomach.
The manna has come enough to know that I will not be buried alive.
And I’ve never watched, but I can tell I am beautiful when I’m writing
and I know there is a humble man saving the rest of his fourth of July’s for my firework giddy applause.
And I don’t know where he is, but I know he doesn’t play hide-and-seek.
And I know I want to tell him that I haven’t been waiting.
I’ve been creating a hotel of stories he can thank for the shameless, crooked smile I’ve become.
I am flaking mud.
I am waking up.
April is gone and I think May was a new sun and I’ve never loved the sound of crumble as I do now.
Under all that earth, I got soft, somehow.
I got a second draft biography.
It says: I’m not much of a sailor but I’ve built some sort of boat.
If you judge me by my crew, I am thoroughly good.
If you judge me by results, I am a two-time world champion of facing what I feared the most.
I have been published by several renowned atlases, for my work repairing lighthouses using only sound.
You’ll know they’re mine when you see them.
How the lights loop haphazardly like they’re completely out of control.