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I have a limb that is dead.
It has stopped serving me long ago.
It has festered under the surface
for years and now
it is dark and immovable
and rotten at the core.
It is my bane and my handicap
and at times it still
throbs and ails me
and spreads poison
to the rest of my body.
I could have left it behind
as a kindness to myself
but I carry it around with me
and dress it up
and make it look pretty
and pretend
there is nothing wrong with it
for fear of disrespecting you,
you who have killed it
slowly, with the kind of love
you thought was best for me
and if I ever choked
and if I ever begged for relief
you’d accuse me
of being ungrateful,
feed me with guilt and shame
and cut yourself
and bleed for me
and tell me
it was that limb that did it
so I just learned to bear it,
taught myself to live with it,
live with the marks
that were slowly getting permanent
left where your brand of love
had pressed its fingers
to stop the flow of blood
until it stopped fighting back
until it stopped breathing
stopped being mine
but yours
but this was your token of love
the only kind you knew how to give
so in honor of that gift
I keep it close as a souvenir
can’t bring myself
to cut it off, this limb that
freedom and inspiration
can’t touch anymore,
the part of my soul
for which water and sunshine
and beauty and poetry
and any measure of saving
is too late,
but the rest of me grew
and the rest of me bore flowers
and the rest of me learned to soar
in spite of it all
while you
continue to nurse that
one lifeless limb
and believe that as long as
you can hold it,
you still possess me
and sometimes I suspect
that when you look at me,
that limb is all you see.
.

ElenaT_byPabloGarcia
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“Elena T.” by photographer Pablo GarcΓ­a

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