The last time that she hit me
finally broke the exoskeleton of my heart
I had built it up slowly
Adding small bits of chitin
A crazy-quilt of polysaccharidic protection
There were often barrages
of rocket-propelled words,
canisters of diminshment-gas
but years of accretion
had hardened my inner being,
I did not feel her attacks any more,
an achievement made possible
by not feeling anything.
Then at the final blow
all I had squirreled away
all the anger, self-loathing,
somatic anguish, began to flow
leaking out of the crack slowly at first,
gathering momentum as the dam eroded
until the torrent was beyond bearing.
I became afraid to cry
for fear I would never stop.
Eventually the storm passed, the waters leveled
and though the valley of where I had been was flooded
I found myself standing on solid ground
surveying the detritus of half my life
determined to salvage nothing
of the dreams and vows floating in the muck;
From this outcropping, my footing increasingly secure,
cool breezes of love, acceptance, flourishing,
flow all around me.
In front of me
lies a road I could never have imagined,
freedom to become myself,
populated with one’s smile as she sees me approach,
another’s kiss through scratchy beard,
a third’s head on my shoulder, her hair soft in my face.