fingerprints

They asked me why I was here and I told them
I didn’t know.
But I had some ideas.

Like how a single word can take my breath
away, while reminding me how to breathe again. Like how
the miles that stand between us
hold me closer than the one touching my hand. Like
how a rainstorm sometimes reminds me
what sunshine feels like.

You see, I was born on a knife edge, learning
to balance before I could stand. Always
knowing
I understood
more than a babe ever should, but (and) playing catch
up on a swing set that pushed me
forward and back and repeat, repeat.

I always thought that was how it must feel
to fly,
that must be where freedom lived,

but I was just gripping the rope
that would tie a noose around my neck
if my hands slipped and I let go.

I could never let go.

I remember a night
when holding on felt a lot like
giving my body to a man
who showed me how
to create claw marks in each tear that fell. My skin
burned beneath his fingerprints
as he marked his territory, and
it took me years to remember
this body is my own.

But I don’t recognise it anymore,
this body,
scarred and shaped out of every attempt I made
just to stay alive.

It doesn’t match
the soul
soaring above it, trying
to outrun the stories I carry deep
in the marrow of my bones.

Yet, sometimes, just sometimes,
when the world becomes
quiet
and my mind softens, and stops
running around the playground of my youth,
I begin
to recognise the sound of my heart as it starts
beating
in time
with the earth that
pulsates beneath my feet.

And for a second, I am home.

They asked me why I was here and I told them
I didn’t know.
But I had some ideas.

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