let’s say I could see your broken wings

Good morning — the light is just shifted from dark grey to heather blue, and rain is streaking onto the windows. The candles are quiet in their glass cages. What is bringing you to the page today?

Let’s say everything is changing. Let’s say it always was. Let’s say I’m always afraid when I sit down to the page — I don’t know what I’m going to say, and I’m certain that whatever I do say won’t come out right. Let’s say I want it to be right. Let’s say I compose on a bag of bones. Let’s say the coffee isn’t cutting it anymore. Let’s say the candles are humming and erect next to me. Let’s say I found a way home. Let’s say I don’t know what home means. Let’s say it’s opening its eyes inside of me. Let’s say there was a place in my body that asked for now. Let’s say I don’t know what that means. Let’s say now spreads its quiet wings around the flames of my insides. Let’s say I tangle with the past. Let’s say I am afraid. Let’s say I do not live in the moment. Let’s say the fingers are forgetting how to work. Let’s say the heart is breaking down. Let’s say I am aghast. Let’s say you are. Let’s say we weren’t ready for any of this.

Let’s say it used to be good. One day it was good. There was a moment of good between us. There was an idea of good. There was a breath. A hope. Let’s say we both had our own dreams. Let’s say the dreams fitted against a knowing that we had forgotten all the words for. Let’s say we weren’t able to climb the trees of our own dark insides anymore. Let’s say we saw in the other someone who might be able to open our locked doors. Let’s say we still believed in fairy tales and knights in shining armor. Let’s say that no matter who you are, you always hope for a knight in shining armor. Let’s say no matter who you are, you always want to be somebody’s knight in shining armor.

I wanted to save you — let’s say that. Let’s just say.

Let’s say I thought it wasn’t hopeless. Let’s say I convinced myself. Let’s say I wanted to hear the names you never shared with anybody else. Let’s say I believed you never told those names to anybody else. Let’s say I sat there while you called me names. Let’s say I ate your accusations like breakfast. Let’s say I was your whipping boy, the safe release, the escape valve, let’s say I was your penitence — or I was my own. Let’s say I thought I deserved it. Let’s say I made all your excuses for you, before you even had to take in a breath. Let’s say I could see your broken wings. Let’s say I knew we were both wounded. Let’s say I said it wasn’t your fault. It was where you came from. It was what you’d been through. Let’s say I could understand rage. Let’s say I wanted to understand what it was like to be you in the world. Let’s say I wanted to get inside your skin. Let’s say I was afraid I could never be enough for you. Let’s say I wanted you so badly I thought my teeth would break. Let’s say I set myself aside for the sex of us. Let’s say I finally understood how people could do that.

Let’s say I tried to be enough for you. Let’s say I tried to be the good woman, the open-handed woman, the woman you deserved, the mother of all good women, the woman that was all small smiles and nods, all feeling and compassion, who could take your slings and arrows for what they were: the wails of a despairing child. Let’s say I wanted to cradle your despairing child. Let’s say I imagined you could cradle mine. Let’s say you dropped me on the floor over and over again. Let’s say I made your excuses for you, before you ever even had to take in a breath. Let’s say I got up from the floor, dusted off my knees, and reached for you again. Let’s say I began to understand my own madness. Let’s say I couldn’t trust what I saw myself doing. Let’s say I put your needs before my own, because it’s so easy to say that, the words are right there on the cover of every book in the library. Let’s say I took off my mouth, then my hindbrain, then my hands, then my shoulderblades. Let’s say I couldn’t understand how I could still be screaming. Let’s say I couldn’t imagine my life without you. Let’s say I found myself in a now that was choked me. Let’s say I got tired of being an emotional punching bag. Let’s say that cliche is too easy. Let’s say the harder words: I got tired of tending to wounds that you both insisted that I make better and insisted didn’t exist. Let’s say that I finally recognized the madness. Let’s say I saw how heartbroken I was. Let’s say I still carry your heartbreak, because I was never, never, never supposed to put it down. Let’s say¬†your accusations are lodged in my body lodge like poisoned arrows or the quills of a broken porcupine. Let’s say you persist in me. Let’s say I put you down. Let’s say I opened the wings of my body to find you chewing off your legs. Let’s say I lifted off the carcass of your despair. Let’s say I can’t do anything to stop it. Let’s say I stopped needing to do anything to stop it. Let’s say I let you do it. Let’s say I let you do it.

Let’s say I let you do it.

Let’s say I was conscious every step of the way. Let’s say every time we came to a fork in the road, I thought, here’s a good chance to get away, and then stepped with you deeper into the forest. Let’s say I thought I could save you. Let’s say I thought love was about fighting and struggle and saviors. Let’s say in the beginning I was thankful for the fights. Let’s say I felt blessed. Let’s say I was so glad I had someone who would tell me what they really thought, and didn’t need to protect me. Let’s say I wanted you to not to protect me. Then let’s say that changed. Let’s say it didn’t change. Let’s say I wanted you to see what your words did when they hit the ledger of my body. Let’s say I wanted you to understand. Let’s say I thought that eventually you would notice, you would get it, you would say you were sorry. Let’s say I finally understood that you could not see, that your eyes lived somewhere else. Let’s say I finally understood that you didn’t think you were doing anything wrong. Let’s say I found the unbridgeable crevasse between us. Let’s say I understood finally that it wasn’t my job to fill all of the holes that life left in you. Let’s say I’m still sorry for those holes. Let’s say I am still speaking into the ones you left in me, whispering into my own body, trying to figure out how to unarmor enough to let the deepest wounds heal.

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This is a morning write. Twenty minutes on the timer, and I just let the fingers go. Here’s a prompt: Begin with “Let’s say-” Complete the phrase, and then begin again. Follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

It’s all important: the recognitions and the blindnesses. Thank you for what you allow yourself to see. Thank you for the generosity of your words.

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