Whole Inside

Have you ever lost someone
not from your close circle
not your immediate family
but someone outside of
the daily routine?
Have you ever felt loss
not as a constant dull pain
but the kind you have to remind yourself about?
like when you wake up to find out
you cut your hair
in the mirror, it’s almost not real
an image hovering in front of you
Have you ever reached out to touch it,
hold the tendrils of your remaining locks
like they’ve been deserted?
Have you ever been hurt by someone
who isn’t even there
or they were there–but not in that sense
they help a space in your heart
but was it empty after they left?
or was it filled in quickly?
the sand mixed into concrete
a pothole recovered
or was it left open and exposed
the breeze cold as it blows
Have you ever woken up from a nightmare
to realize it’s true
wanting to go back to sleep
where endless possibilities exist
but instead your eyes stay glued open
replaying the story for you again and again
so you won’t forget
Have you ever opened your arms
to give someone a hug
only to receive a punch to your abdomen
and you regret exposing it
you didn’t know it was coming
you were awaiting their embrace
Have you wondered if they planned it all along
drew you in closer, coaxed you
to unclasp your hands from your stomach,
lower your shield just a bit
to make it easier for them to hurt you
because they are too weak against your shield
they can’t actually hurt you
but they know the hit will sting
at least for a little while
Have you ever wondered how they feel as their fist strikes you
if it gives them satisfaction
releasing hatred but absorbing yours as well
if their hand hurts, feels sore
when they’re done with you
like the bitterness of words
as they leave your tongue
when you didn’t want to say them
but something inside you pushed them out
They lie on your shirt like vomit
a stain on your new blouse
Have you ever wanted someone else to feel the same loss as you
light a match, burn a hole as big as yours
as if it will make yours seem more normal
or more acceptable
or less

Have you ever lost something and hoped you might find yourself
not in the darkness or the sting
not in the emptiness or fear
but in the new space open
left to fill with something lovely
Have you taken that hole and smoothed out its edges
gently because the wound was still raw
neatly tucked cloth around it
to place a delicate carving
of the person you hope to be
Have you tried planting a garden in that space
watched the vines grow as they curl up and around your carving
given the seeds just enough water
to sprout and grow buds
buds that may turn into flowers
if they’re given time to blossom
if you don’t drown them in tears
but shine them in the sun instead
let the world view your hole
what you’ve build inside of it
and the ugly you turned into love.

Photo by Osvaldo Gago

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