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So you have dragged
my name through the mud
and pillaged my peace of mind.
So you have called all
my actions into question
and labeled them
with scarlet letters.
So you have twisted my words
and shamed me into silence.
So you have turned
my very faith upside down
and called my courage a crime.

You tore the clothes
off my back.
The lovely colors they were,
I still see them;
they were not yours,
no matter how many dotted lines
you forced me to sign.
And even then, you debased
the raw nobility
of my nakedness.

You then released me
into the wild
where I had been before.
I ran back, trembling,
into the arms of the sun.
I cleared my vision by weeping.
I strengthened my steps again
by walking
and by standing still.
Wind songs and bird calls
reminded me of love.
I studied the moon.
The bared textures of life
finally let me sleep.
For the first time in years,
I could take my sweet time.
I solemnly dug up
my truths and my purpose
from under the decaying leaves
and commenced rubbing off
the dirt with my fingers.

And then you sent
your hounds after me.

untitled photo by photographer Ashley Michele


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