Hope at the End of a Chain

Isn't it funny how sometimes
The fear doesn't come until the danger's already passed?
But then it hits you, all at once,
As if to try to make up for it
For letting it's guard down
For failing to protect you
Shocking your system into movement
From where you rested,
Quiet beneath the sand-
Rising to meet the Whale Fall
Usually, I love a dichotomy
Life and death interwoven,
The same coin spinning as it sinks
It's different when limbo is your own ribcage
Twitching, then buzzing, then teeming-
Growing as it disintegrates.
Changing form, but losing itself
Little by little
Swept away into the cold, dark current
Here you are,
Huddled in the skeleton of
What had felt like your Home, finally-
The dream of safety, stability, freedom
Gone before your eyes had time to adjust,
But not before they'd begun to make out
The angular silhouettes of dorsal fins
Melting out of inky blue
Before your heart rate could settle
On the shifting sands
Of the ocean floor you'd built it on
Before rows of bone could make their way to yours
Finally, staring into unseeing eyes and
Kicking off skyward with everything you had left
Ignoring the pain of decompression
As you ascended too quickly
But who would have chosen teeth instead?
Masquerading as mammals from below,
Mimicking their whistles
Insisting safety, family,
But you've seen their tails whipping side to side
Despite it all,
You made it
Enveloped by the vastness
Of open water.
And for a moment, despite the aching,
You thought you felt
Closer to the sun than you'd ever been.
But October caught you by the ankle.
Dragged you back downward
Driving 14 hours through the night,
Just in time to watch
Everything die
All around-
So vivid, so striking
That feeling when the pain is so great,
Whatever's left of you beyond it
Can only stand there surprised.
There's no room for anything else,
So you escape into absurdity
Because without you, he'll fade
And you love him
You love him so much you'll choose the dark,
The crushing weight,
The teeth
Over and over again
Even when you can't
And isn't that the vessel you anchored yourself to
When you were small, and tired,
And could no longer keep up?
The caravan always moving too fast
For your little legs,
They never heard you begging
To stop,
To slow down
Even for a moment
So you did the only thing you could
Wrapping your arms around
And floating above yourself,
As you were dragged across the earth
Feeling too much,
And watching yourself decay
But at least they'll never know;
You're still here, enough-
A body to provide whatever it can't refuse
Because they love you
But not enough to care that you're drifting away
They've already grieved "you" once after all
And you stay because
It's who you are- the only real you.
And it hurts. It always hurts.
And you lose a little more each day.
After all, there's no such thing as perpetual motion.
Not in this place
Not in this universe
Even sharks have to sleep
Heads or tails,
It's only a matter of time
Until the coin
Comes to rest,
And you'll be gone from here.
So hold on to that steel lifeline.
Nothing lasts forever
Thank god, nothing lasts forever.


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