When I was twelve years old my two year old niece took her last breath in my older sister's arms-
Heart failure they called it.
Her heart's inability to function- work properly,
But those words didn't comfort me.
Her heart stopped and I had mine ripped from my chest still beating and pumping blood laced with anguish and memory and suffering and longing.
So at twelve years young I engraved on a tombstone notebook my final goodbyes-
Lead teartrops from a number 2 pencil streaking across paper-
At twelve I found myself digging a pencil into paper in order to prevent myself from digging into my own wrists,
Standing on a bridge, falling and having them think I just slipped,
Hanging up certificates and pictures instead of nooses.
So I sat, carving out a poem from the dead bodies of trees like my life depended on it,
Like some life support system attached to faulty wiring,
A faultless death-
No one to blame but a broken heart, right?
Not mine, but hers,
And then, not even the fault was hers because after all, her heart was given to her at birth,
A loan with too high of interest,
And when she couldn't pay, her heart was repossesed.
So I wrote a poem,
A poem capable of containing my volatile thoughts,
A poem that I could hold on to like a life jacket,
A poem where I could speak of her death without that feeling of emotional seasickness-
And I wrote that poem- not for an audience, not for applause, but for myself and for my own salvation,
That poem saved me.
That poem substituted for the suicide note I had forming in my head,
And I turn to my poetry when I get that churning in my stomach,
Or that itching on my wrist.
Poetry is my salvation.