Hard Won

It is a difference of degree.
Love or loneliness.
Once I would run to tell you.
But now is not like before,
but before that.

And I would share the air with you.
I still would.
And I am still leaning into it,
but the blade is dull now.
Still, it’s what we’ve got.
And it’s what we’ve got to do.

And what we’ve got to do is work at peeling back the layers:
how we have been defined
by something that comes from outside —
over and again —
some lightness or darkness that was never our own.

Here, alone,
it is getting easier to see.
Day after day with my hands in the dirt,
there is only the witness.

And you were never real.
And neither was I.

Author: Emily

i once was lost

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