Bruised

I wrote the first draft of this in the spring of 2005. Like most things I write, I can always find something to change and so it continues to evolve. But it always resonates with me, and I’m never embarrassed by it.

I wake secure and floating from
dreams bright yellow and orange.
I am listening to my heartbeat:
eyes closed, body on.

Fingers from the window slip
through my hair shining
red and gold and brown.

I am strong then –
feel daring, light and ready –

Until I step out the door.
The sunlight on my face –
I grit my teeth –
highlights my inadequacies,
flaws and insecurities.

Outside
I am weak.

I am a mother’s girl –
call most nights, talk about
everything, nothing, how she needs
to take better care of herself.
“You too,” she says.

I am solid soft chaos
boiling in a tea kettle,
whistle blowing to take me off,
take me in, keep me safe
and warm and loved and beautiful.

I am beautiful
and bruised
blue, purple and indigo.
Sinking into an evening sky.

I know. I think. I feel beautiful
sometimes.

This soft pulp
protects the pit in my stomach,
the chance for renewal
and growth.

My muscles ache
and the bruises fade.
Calluses shield
my weaknesses.

I still feel lost when no one’s watching,
but the tears on my bedroom floor
begin to dry –

As I crawl back into bed
where I can sleep again,
dream again, and
wake strong in the morning light.

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