twenty-six, and counting

Poems / Sunday, March 26th, 2023

a bottle stopper for a heart, round at the one end,
the other one sharp,
perfectly balanced, if you hold it just right
fitting my neck to a T –

I’d always found it difficult to admit to
the obvious sin of not being perfect, a painstaking shame in the face of failure
measuring myself against the Trees of my childhood, that make it impossible
to see the foresT

I am reluctantly trailing the years, and realize that there’s something to account for,
that I have become someone, and that the essence of this person can be explained, tracked, summarized by the faces and places and traces of
love, that I have touched,
disfigured as I am by the kindnesses I’ve been shown
and beatified by the cruelties,
I am still learning to forgive myself for taking some of either without paying it back in equal measure,
tablespoon of heartache
I’ve pained myself, painstakingly stacking up
the evidence,
painted myself
to be the villain and the victim
in different scenarios and with different nemeses,
and now I have come to understand that there is no such thing as an absolute angel, a complete devil, or maybe only very few,

often just fallible human-beings stumbling along the edges of each other’s kindnesses,
gripping on too fast sometimes, leaving small burn holes in the fabric of each other’s souls, on the soles of our feet and the paper-thin lightness of our beings that get heavier each passing season, the butterfly skin of our eyelids,
following each other from dawn to dusk into disoriented dreams, trying to understand each other’s secret desires without having to be told and, often failing miserably because we are only ever as good as ourselves, and only ever come from that vantage point,

yet, still, miraculously, wonderfully, it’s okay,
it’s okay
to hurt both ways,
to hear and be heard,
fear and be curt
to amble and stumble and mumble and crumble under the weight

a bottle stopper for a heart, preserving the weight, texture and
richness of
the body of wine that is my soul
in a vacuum,
preventing it from oxidizing into something


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