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I carried it with me for a while
on my shoulders, and that side
of the heart that is predisposed
to suffer uncomprehending
and without questions asked,
it hung over my soul like storm clouds,
and if I couldn’t see the sun
I figured maybe being a good daughter
was meant to be like that,
meant to live only in dreams
and dream dreams of high walls
meant to be bent like that,
cartilaginous will
hesitantly, painfully growing
to fill out the confined spaces
of someone else’s deformed box
cardboard and standards recycled
many times by many hands
half in discomfort, and half
in a mute terror of some
vaguely defined condemnation
whose hazy abstractness
made the fear most unspeakable
but it is neither in Heaven nor in hell
but here on earth
I embraced that fear for a while
so tightly lest it got out of my sight
treating it like my birthright
as if the pain was a source of pride
and it became me, so close
that I learned to lie through it
and my lies,
the only things that were truly mine
in a life that charges me rent
to spend my own time and
occupy my own skin, and where
my own future and purpose were
allegedly owned by someone else,
my lies didn’t take too long
to become more solid and tangible
and easier to believe in
than the truths I borrowed

and maybe I’m lost
or maybe I’m enlightened,
maybe I went to bed one night and
opened my eyes under a Bodhi tree

maybe I’m lost
or maybe it’s impossible because
I’m the direction everything’s
been heading all along

maybe I’m lost
maybe growing up with a cilice
digging into the flesh of my spirit
and tracking blood everywhere I walked
did not stop me from finding my freedom

and maybe for the first time I found God
maybe for the first time I am found

untitled photo by photographer Aleksandra Kinskaj

lines 47-50 came from Paradise Free Jahlove’s original: “Dear one, you can never truly be lost because you are the direction where everything is heading…”


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