by Erin Goeke

Artwork by Alli Rowe

I lived in my humid room- laden with sweat and dreams,
shattered fragments of who I was and who I want to be
joined the pile of candy wrappers underneath my bed.
I drew myself on the pavement with chalk,
and hoped the rain wouldn’t wash me away.
With every word I left unspoken,
I placed a pebble in my pocket
in loving memory of what could have been,
trusting that the accruing weight of my restraint
would make me stronger.
Those stones soon paralyzed me,
my legs were too heavy to lift.
Stuck, unable to move on,
facing the fear of making a mistake.
And then facing the mistakes that inevitably followed.
Standing at the cusp of
that rancid, humid air and water– cool, murky, and deep,
I decide to go off the deep end.
I’m not sure when things started to change.
It’s like walking with your eyes closed,
and then finally having the courage to open them.
Everything is foreign, and the world
is so bright it’s terrifying.
Underwater, everything is so light.
Those rocks that pulled me to the bottom,
aren’t heavy anymore.
I can finally let them go.
Washed up on the shore,
the air is crisp.
Time moves forward.
My nervous tick– fingers fumbling around in my pockets,
which I thought were empty,
they wrap around a piece of chalk.
I see a canvas outside.
However, no matter how many times I check,
I could swear there are still pebbles in my pocket.

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