WHAT IF

What if –
What if she never woke up
What if he never got better
What if they never saw the sun set
And then-
Her eyes were closed
His body was covered
Their remains were buried
But then –
Her passing brought understanding
His death brought healing
Their demise brought hope

And so –
Old doors were sealed shut
Rotten pipes were gutted out
The walls were painted a new color
Because –
Broken hearts were mended
Streaming tears were stopped
New doors were found

Amanda

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PUZZLE

It’s been

Only

Ten days.

So much has changed.

My whole world has been

Turned upside down.

Every day you aren’t here to

Wash my favorite shirt;

Make my favorite meal;

Play my favorite song;

I’ve felt it in my heart.

Every day that I wake up to

Tears me apart

Just a bit more.

I was a puzzle;

You figured me out;

And now that you’ve left

I’m coming undone again.

You see . . .

You weren’t the only one who would never smile again.

You weren’t the only one who was buried.

You weren’t the only one whose heart stopped beating.

Ten days ago…

You weren’t the only one who died.

Inspired by a little old man I saw, kneeling at a grave today, with a fresh bouquet of flowers. ❤

Amanda

CHANGE

I turned the doorknob;
Took a breath;
The door opened.
Memories swooshed by.
Some hugged me;
Some pinched me;
Some grabbed me ’round the neck.
Everything reminded me of
Something.
The musty smells percolated
In the air–
They smelled of bonds, of chains, of work.
Everything felt
Grimy,
Left traces of tawny color
Across my fingers.
I remembered the last time I was here.
I may have been shorter
(Not by much).
I was more innocent–
Believed there was good in everyone;
Saw the best in places where there was none.
Now I’ve
Changed.
I’m slightly broken,
Slightly bruised.
I’m not innocent.
I see more bad than good.
The childish optimism has been doused
In the water of
Reality.

But
As I see the dust in the corner
Where there was once a Christmas tree
And paint splatters in the
Shadows of my little brother’s footsteps,
I think of how I’ve also changed
For good.
Because I left this tin can behind
I could scrape up the ashes of my childhood,
Continue in what would’ve been
Had I never stepped foot in this place.
I met the person
That changed my life.
Like dominoes
Their presence changed me forever.
They softened my edges,
Gave me confidence
In the face of those
Who didn’t and never would believe in me.
They never gave up on me,
Always thought I could do it.

Their eyes shone with the optimism
I had lost
So long ago.

And I believed
Again.

I believed people could be good.
I’d thought I could never trust again;
I’d almost locked myself away,
Gave up on humanity.

But that person brought me back.

Unlocked my coffin,
Made the sun shine.
They opened the blinds
When I’d nearly
Shut them fast.

But what will I do
If they shut them again?

Amanda

RADICAL

She was ageless–
A star among seas,
A sky among land.
She could not be defined
So they defined her themselves:
Strange;
Different;
Radical;
Unacceptable.
They poured water on her fires,
Threw a blanket over her sun;
Stifled the life from her.
Only after she was gone
Did they realize
She hadn’t been the one that was
Strange;
Different;
Radical;
Unacceptable.
She had a different definition to live by,
One that was perfect.

No.
They were the ones
Who were
Lightning flashes amongst sunbeams;
War amid peace;
Dead among living.

They were radical.

YOUTH

Please don’t grow up,
Little girl.
Don’t forget about
Your tutus and
Fairy wands
And tiaras
And hopes of Prince Charming.
Please don’t
Lose your bright-eyed
Anticipation
Of Christmas.
Don’t forget about
The land of dreams
You made up
In your youth.
Don’t let your
Stuffed animals’ names be
Forgotten.
Don’t trade your dolls for
Music and clothes.
Don’t fall asleep crying
Because of expectations.
Don’t let your dreams die
Because they won’t make money.
Don’t give your heart
To a boy
Who’ll never come around.
Stay young.
Fight for your youth.

May you never see the
Storms amid rainbows; the
Trolls around fairies; the
Monsters among men.

Amanda

SONG

The wind whipped my hair.

The car flew down a hill;

I closed my eyes.

The driver flipped the radio on:

It was a SONG–

A song my mom wouldn’t approve of.

I wriggled in my seat,

The teenagers giggled.

“What, you don’t like it?”

I shook my head.

Of course I liked it.

It spoke to my heart.

It spiked through my blood

Like a beautiful poison

Made just for me.

The notes and rhythm moved my limbs

In a way nothing else ever had.

I was one with the music.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I like it.”

And I lost a bit of myself

That day.

Years later

A car pulls into the driveway.

I climb in

And that SONG

Is playing again.

I’ve changed so much.

I no longer feel guilty

Tapping my foot to the beat,

Convulsing in my seat,

Mouthing the words.

They speak to me

Like no other words can.

The music is a language,

My language,

A language I always knew

I would know someday.

And I can’t help but think

How different I am now

And wonder

If it’s good

Or if it’s bad.

Amanda

PROMISE

i’m on a precipice

like an eagle with a broken wing

i overlook an empty nothingness

i can hardly see through

all the clouds

it’s like trying to

wrangle heaven

i think i hear you

think you told me to jump

but i can’t remember

everything is so

unsure

uncertain

did i really trust you

in another life

did i jump

did you catch me

or did i fall

nothing breathes

nothing shifts

i feel all alone

then something nudges me

it whispers

it touches my hair

i look around but

there’s nothing there

i ignore it

but it comes again

it urges me to jump

to trust

to take a dare

to live

to give you a chance

the memory becomes a little clearer

but you are so muddled

i don’t know what you’re telling me

or if you’re even telling me anything at all

the nudge comes again

and you know what

i’m gonna do what i’ve always done

you love me for who i am

i feel a tug still

it tells me i’m going to fall

it’s imminent

will i crash or burn

that’s the real question

are you down there

in sickness and in health

remember

so

i jump blindly

the sun hugs me

the earth cries with joy

the fog parts

i can finally see

bright rings of memories come back

like all the constellations

we only think exist

and i remember

there was white

and lace

and church pews

and stained glass

and

you

who were so proud of me

so proud of us

long ago

before we were in the white

and lace

and church pews

and stained glass

you told me to jump

in that other place

that other time

you promised you’d catch me

said you wouldn’t drop me

vowed you’d never let me go

you make good on promises

Amanda

ISLAND

I’m on an

ISLAND

All by myself.

I call out to people I see

Floating by me

In boats of all different shapes and sizes.

But they can’t–

WON’T–

Hear me.

They’d rather live in their

Foolish opulence;

Drown in their

Pompous ideas.

I watch them,

One by one,

Jumping overboard.

I yell out to them,

Command them to

STOP.

But they laugh

As they jump off the deck of the cruise ship.

They smile

As they jump off of the rickety rowboat.

They whoop

As they jump off the yacht.

They jump

Willingly

Into the shark-infested waters

Beneath them.

They don’t even scream as they’re torn

To bits and pieces.

They don’t seem to know.

And the worst part is

I have to watch.

It’s my duty.

I can’t turn my back on them;

I’m supposed to save them.

One passenger hears me.

I gasp,

Relieved,

And throw out a life preserver.

He catches it in his

Capable hands,

A bit afraid

For the first time in his life.

He’s unsure

For the first time in his life.

But he comes

ANYWAY.

Everyone screams for him to

Come back

But he ignores them,

Just like they ignore me

Day in and day out.

I pull him ashore.

The twinkle in his eye

Is so beautifully familiar.

I want to cry.

I’m not

ALONE

Anymore.

He takes my hand

And we stroll across the beach.

We can rest for a little while.

But tomorrow

When the sun serves breakfast

I’ll be back at it again.

But this time I have a friend.

And together we’ll throw life preservers

Out to those

Who don’t want a life to preserve.

Amanda