Brave Nonetheless

There are some things only talked about in the mirror; when I run my hands through newly-shorn hair at the nape of my neck. When that still water of glass reflects my fingers deftly sewing up a shirt. When the brush scrapes enamel worn to ghostliness by addiction’s sucker punch. As the scales tick back and forth like a clock, when the smell of honey rises from a pot of cool cream.

There are some things I say to myself when the black silk trim of my curtain is whipped about like a violent phantom by a night full of foxes opening their razor throats, shrieking love poetry. When I wait for my bones to reclaim sleep like white roots sipping opiates from the earth, when the rain sings its acapella lullaby.

There are secret words I use to comfort myself when I see a hearse roll down the road, a train pull away, my mother’s hand wave goodbye through the window, a crushed car dumped on the verge with coke cans and badger corpses and feathers fluttering from smashed bird bodies. Loss upon loss, piled up on the highway. Monuments to unhappy transience.

Prayers and mantras for washing hair with pure olive soap, for shaking out bedlinen that smells of lavender and the pine trees that pour their scent from the hilltop. For gauging the colour of storm clouds, dabbing bloodied knees with cotton, watering the tender green jasmine plant, shaking delicate mustard yellow chamomile flowers into a glass jar.

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Psalms to command stillness, acceptance, love. A long litany of nurture in spite of med times and eyes strained from mangling saltwater and kids on the bus who spit.

Words to remind me who I am. To soothe simplicity into my hands as my mind turns over and over, devouring itself. As my minds argue and cajole and placate one another, Russian dolls with peeling paint and hidden jewels for eyes, willful and strange and ecstatic and sorrowful. Oh, and brave; brave like the last cigarette against a pockmarked wall. Brave like the execution blindfold stained with blood spatter and powder burns.

Brave nonetheless.