Breathe

I went on a mission to change my name

To cut through my braids and melt all my chains

Chopped off my hair, pierced through my flesh

Wandered away from my home; I fled

Who am I now that I’ve challenged my soul

Conquered the shadows that threatened and broke?

I jumped from the heights, I set out alone

I held fast to the loneliness grinding my bones.

Now I am different, sharper, and free

Now I am entirely

Painfully

Me.

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fear-steps

i had to step through the looking-glass,
the hoops and the spinning chimes.
i had to curl up and close my eyes,
allowing the thieves all my time.

i had to give in to the burdening blades
the heaviest sunrise, the blood-sky most stained.

i had to relinquish the storm in my heart, or

my killers would never depart.

Mocha

She left and part of me went to sleep

I’m undone by four paws and a worn-out red collar

My faithful companion, lifelong friend

Thank you for loving me with all your strength to the end.

She took all my comfort with her

All the security of her protective grace.

Almost two decades of fears quelled by my tireless guardian

Watchful sentry, ageless soldier;

Furry tissue, perfect confidante

The best friend anyone could want

That old gray muzzle

Will never

Leave

My heart. I’ll love you forever

I can still feel you by my side (curled up perfectly like most winter nights)

Someday I may stop weeping

But tonight, the first night I face under this roof without your warm, snoring presence (my earliest memory is your excitement as we chose you at the pound; eighteen years is a long time for you to have been around)

The tears will flow until they irrigate the desert valleys you left inside my heart.

I can’t imagine life without your loyalty and bark

Someone tear this pain from me

AND JUST GIVE ME BACK MY DOG —

please.