Steel Being

I have been burned.
I have felt the flames
Engulf my skin and my being.
I felt them wrap around my heart,
Twisting it into something
I never thought it could be.
I saw the world,
Distorted through the smoke,
And had to remind myself
Where I was,
Who I was,
And why.

And in the days passed
Since such trauma
I have been told
How it has made me who I am,
How it has made me stronger,
How it has turned my skin to steel.
Don’t they understand?
The flames did not do that.
The flames tore through my skin
Like it was paper.
The flames left me inhuman,
Unrecognizable.
Looking in the mirror
Was never so painful.
I built the steel
Around myself
To hide my scars,
And I told everyone
It was my new skin,
Wearing it with false pride
As if being made of steel
Could change what I’d been through.
But it’s still there.
It will never leave me.
And when I am told
How it’s made me stronger
As if I or anyone
Should be grateful
For something so awful,
The scars burn
As if the fire
Has been lit again
This time, beneath my armor
Held against my skin.
And I can relive
The agony I went through
Trying to put it out.
I am no steel being,
Only someone too afraid
To live without armor.

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These Hands: Part II

So many stories
These hands could tell.
Each line has its own.
Some may be smaller,
But they are never
Any less important.
A reason to reach out,
A reason to clench,
A reason to grab,
A reason to point.
Each and every action
Has shaped these  hands,
Molded them.
The beauty of these hands
Is not in perfectly clear
Or smooth skin.
It is in the details.
It is in the stories behind
Every scar,
Every crease,
And every perfect
Imperfection
That has fitted these hands
To the person.

Unfamiliar

I scream
For the days when nothing mattered,
the days when others’ chatter
didn’t burn me
or threaten to turn me
inside out.
I yearn
For when looking into others’ faces
meant I would always find traces
of kindness and honesty,
something they promised me
would never run out.

But leaves have been thrown
where new grass has grown
through thinning layers of snow
on top of leaves that were strewn
the previous year.
And ceilings became higher
as halls were built wider
and so many of the kinder
people I knew became liars
I wished not to hear.

They ran out of kindness,
replaced it with blindness,
and the darkest of glasses
could not fix their vision
-or mine.
For I could no longer find traces
in these, now, unfamiliar faces
of the honest friends
who’d stood by my side.

Rebirth

I don’t like snow.
It isn’t the cold either
Because I don’t like heat.
It isn’t the gray
Because I like rain.
It isn’t the death
That hangs from every tree branch.
It isn’t the seemingly absent life,
All migrated or hibernating.
It isn’t the stillness
That everyone says will never break.
It is the stillness that does.
It’s the glass that cracks beneath my feet,
So easily
Or accidentally.
It’s the pristine beauty
That I may never cross
Without destroying.
It’s the watching as,
Day by day,
White turns to gray,
And feathers turn to mud
And then tar.
It’s the feeling as
Joy and excitement,
Snowmen and hot chocolate,
Become disappointment and loss,
Melted heaps
And sickness and sorrow.
It’s as mystery falls to bleakness,
Of which, I am not sure,
How much more I can bear,
when, suddenly,
The mist clears and it’s Spring.
What trace is left of what has passed?
Am I to forget?
Am I to believe that Winter
Has not come and Spring
Has been here all along?
Am I to leave all these burdens behind me,
Forgetting that, in three seasons,
I still must face them again,
Having fallen into, what seems like,
An endless cycle
From birth
To deterioration
To death
To rebirth?

Unavoidable

I soar through the sky,
Darting between treetops,
Shooting, up, into the clouds
And out again.
Still, I lose them,
My beautiful, black feathers.
They just keep falling, fleeing,
Stripped from my skin.
I’m sure it follows them.
How else could it find me?
Eyes able track my swift body
Through the air do not exist.
I can feel it gaining.
I’ve heard it called “Fear,”
But I do not think this name
Suits it so well as “Past.”
Perhaps I cannot outrun
Such an apparition.
Still, there is the issue
Of my feathers.
The faster I fly,
The faster they fall out,
Floating like volcanic ash.
How many pieces
Of myself can I lose
Before there is nothing left
To hide my repulsive skin
From the world and myself?
I have not the time
To fly down and reclaim them,
Were I even to know
Where they had landed.
Perhaps if I retraced my steps,
I could find them one by one,
But eventually I would come
Face to face with Past.