11.9.22 Cliche

“I’m a cliche,”

she told me through her tears

she told me through mine 

I took in her tired eyes …

too tired to cry

I took in her straight-edge shoulders …

strong from the weight they’d proven they would continue to bear

I wonder if telling someone new hurts worse

than keeping it inside

Do the spinning, recurrent, stuck-on-play thoughts

pause 

when shared – giving peace to the weary,

world-beaten mind that must endure them?

Or does saying them out loud

again

open just-barely healed scars?

I hated that all I could do was listen

because listening doesn’t feel like enough

And yet the set of her chin 

the clench in her jaw

told me she was not waiting for the right words

(she knew no one would ever have)

she was not waiting for anyone to fix

or heal

or save

Listening would never be enough

but being heard … 

was 

Somewhere between the “I do’s”

and “I don’t anymore,”

between the “Until death do us part’s” 

and “I’ve got nothing left,” 

lay the infinitesimal

(albeit shattered) 

portion of hope

waiting to be stumbled upon in the dark 

And even though the dark remains

ink-stained as the document signed to revoke a promise that

paper should never be strong enough to change –

she’s going to make it

she is

Undeniably.

Somehow, slowly, 

crawling will become standing

on her own precious feet

on her own grounded terms

Pinpricks of light will begin to shimmer and wink into existence 

wish-worthy as a constellation

Feather by broken feather

her wings will knit together

her thoughts will calm, and quiet

and she will find peace 

among the pieces of what was

Though she can’t know it yet

she will

she is not a cliche

she is not a tragedy

she is a phoenix

and my but I wonder at the beauty that will be born

from her ashes

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