The monsters brought their shadows
as they climbed into my bed
and I gave them stories
that promised to make them human again.
I had talked them into the idea
of change and love and the broken petal
that became a flower overnight
in the embrace of a care so fierce it
that nothing in the world could stay broken
once they knew its warmth;
just liked they talked me into
the ideas of strength and hiding and the stones
that teach the skin of blood, bruise and eventually a strength
so stubborn that it can never be separated
from our bodies, our sorrows, and our will to fight.
But many hours and a sleep and a love later
we still found ourselves staring at the
broken windows of hope,
and the stone of disappointments
melting in the morning light like snow.
Each half of our heart now wouldn’t stop crying
and begging for the other half to change.
Every part of us was now contending with each other
on the monopoly of truth, the right way to love,
and the safe ways to die. Our surety of self was evaporating
faster than ever. We were being broken from inside,
scattered for good, while our skins now knew the same battles
of keep up a form, keeping our reality hidden.
But now we could at least now sit in a room
and look each other in eye and smile,
knowing we could never be separate from each other.
Knowing there is no hell or heaven we would go to alone,
no forgiveness only granted to one.
There was no sin or or grace in this kingdom of cries,
there is no beautiful escape from this knowledge of life.
It is not the night that brings in the monsters.
They are just creatures, just nature-
that exist outside the door that you are guarding.
They come in because this world is theirs as well.
They come in because they can,
just like how you can go out.
This is the fair deal you don’t want to exist.
At least they do not look for you,
they do not mark your picture
and throw darts at it.
I love them for that,
for the lack of vicious premeditation,
the lack of fun in their delivery of hurt.
The river of pills that flows into my window
has nothing to do with them.
The hurt that keeps you awake,
the nails that slowly make marks
on the surface of your eyes
this ruined place, this brokenness
are always the gifts of the ones
who look like us.
This has nothing to do with the monsters.
This has nothing to do with nights.
But has knowing such things ever helped.
The days are just as frightful as nights.
Now anything that looks like me,
and everything that doesn’t –
they are possible ends of me.
Now I must either run away from everything
or must end up loving them all, forgiving them all –
this broken temple of knowledge, this fake shallow sacred unions,
these glorious wretched feelings that won’t let me remain me.
How far should I run. How foolishly should I love.
How do I decide.
i will read you another story
so that you may know
that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance,
how ordinary are expectations-not-met.
i will read till my eyes close
till you can see all there is to see,
till you see everyone around you
who are disappearing into silence,
till you see all the kind words you could have said to them,
till you see that these words, that make you cringe,
how important they are
how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean
till you learn to mean these words that save lives,
till you learn to listen to others,
till you grow the eyes
that can see the world before it is lost.
though there is another story for another day
about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.
that’s what i remember.
when the stones fell
onto the already breaking roofs of our class,
the girl who sat three rows ahead
everyone who was busy day dreaming,
who had shut their ears to every useless fact that we come to learn,
knew how to listen to this,
to this violence that could hurt but won’t.
i sat there listening,
wondering if my skin would also be able bear
what this tin sheet roof can,
if my classmates would look at me
understand their violence that could break me but hasn’t yet.
maybe it was our silence,
maybe it was the teachers glare
that made it stop,
made the loud shrieking rain to end.
and when she left
the stones had already turned into dripping water.
the kids wanting to forget
the trauma of being silenced,
of having their dreams interrupted,
of being reminded of their helplessness
recited incidents that didn’t happen,
tried to laugh a little louder than usual,
made another joke at the expense of someone like me
and so my only memory of hailstone
was also reduced to the din of students (who never liked me).
i closed my books and pretended to be asleep
while everyone ate and talked to their friends.
i waited for everyone to leave
so I could eat alone
without being ashamed for being left alone.
i said the word aloud in that empty classroom.
i had one more words now
to describe these kids who scared me by their meanness,
who made me like the prospect of loneliness.