Through the years my heart had been stifled

The childhood songbird lost its voice

And the feathers of its wings were plucked

Until all that was left was withered

Gasping for breath

I tried to nurse it back to health

But my head and my heart did not agree

And soon my chest was filled with stones


My life was changed in a high school classroom

Freshman year

When I was taught that poetry

Is not just old dead white men

Writing odes to trees and putting adolescents to sleep

I was taught that poetry

Can be therapy

I wrote my first poem by the light of a phone screen

Long after the sun had set

The bird in my ribcage

Was set aflame for the first time in years

The rocks melted down

And molten magma flowed through my veins

I finally had my first taste of passion


The years that followed were filled with heat

The world around me burned

And so the fires in my blood burned hotter

Poetry fueled me and gave me reason to live

Though my mind screamed

That death would would finally relieve me

Of the flames that charred my skin

Again, my mind and heart disagreed

And again, I was left with stones

I learned that weight can do numbers on a person’s spine

When I felt my body buckle under the pressure

My stones, all I had left, fell out of me

And into the hands of the people I thought I could trust

He that is without sin cast the first stone

And soon I was buried in the weight of scriptures

The weight of my own sin

And so I began to sink


I became an anchor

For other people’s ships

Holding them by chains they attached to me

As I sat at the bottom of the sea

Dragging through the five stages of grief

Until I finally accepted that this would be home

The water put out the last few sparks in my ribcage

And I was left cold

Driven only by the hopes that the ships I held

Would one day find paradise

And I would be along for the ride

But one by one

They let go of the chains in search of paradise

And the only ships left







I felt heat rise again in me

But this time it was different

The warmth was not comforting

It burned like acid through me

Lighting up my nerves

So I couldn’t sit still

My mind screamed at my heart to stay down

But the fires felt great after the cold

So I shut it up

I wanted the fires

I wanted the burn

I wanted to feel passion again

I watched myself burn

I wrote odes to my own anger

The hot acid in my veins ran black

I used it as ink

I couldn’t stop thinking of poetry

All I wanted was to write poetry

The ashes left in my chest bloomed

Too fast, too hot

My ribcage cracked and crumbled in the flames

And I felt my heart escape me

I had my last taste of passion

And I was left

With nothing but fire

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