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Nobody talks about it,
the bottom of a fractured life
summarily made whole
where the gaps between cause and effect
are incongruous and there is only
the vintage charm of old pain,
of addiction to being lost,
too heavy to move and
too obstinate to be stirred
by healing hands
or turning pages.
They’ll tell you what you’ve gained—
yourself,
the future,
the world is your damn oyster,
and part the curtains eastward
to let in the sun
but they won’t mention
how easy it is to open that door
or that sometimes it opens
by itself,
the things you’ve unlearned.
Or that nothing can be un-felt;
filling up the open graves
with dirt is not the same
as undisturbed earth.
You can still spot the places
where you used to be hollow
and how strange it had felt
when the light touched it,
as if the virtue of nakedness
were a sin you were born in
that you didn’t ask for.
As if frailty were something
you fall into, and all you need
is to walk away from the edge.
They’ll turn your confidence
into an academic debate on
pills versus prayer,
and totally ignore the fact
that you’re already a battlefield
sleeping with landmines.
Then they’ll sing the praises
of constant movement,
use forward as a mantra
to purge the staleness of
missing who you used to be.
But no, it’s not laziness
when you just want to stop
the clock and sleep
holds you prisoner; you do not
become a lesser woman when
you seek solace in forgetting
and the way it numbs all sense
of need, when the only thing
you understand is the contrast
between the dead of silence
and so much noise it burns you
from the inside like wartime poison.
They’ll avoid that conversation
like the neon signs of a scandal,
but you’ll see it from miles away,
even in the gentlest of nights.
And you’ll feel drawn to it,
and it will feel like home,
sometimes.

I pray you don’t
have to live in it.

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jessicahermack
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Image by photographer Jessica Hermack

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