READ WITHOUT STOPPING – A Poem by Sylvia Syms

READ WITHOUT STOPPING

READ WITHOUT STOPPING

WHEN I RETURN I REMEMBER THAT I AM NO LONGER A SETTLER AND I LEFT BECAUSE I WANTED MORE THAN WHAT WAS WAITING FOR ME OUTSIDE THE DOOR WHERE SNOW NEEDED TO BE SHOVELED BEFORE I COULD EXIT AND STEP INTO A PLACE WHERE MY FINGERS NOSE AND LIPS TURNED GRAYISH BLUE AND BEGAN TO HURT AS I WAITED AND MY BREATHING BECAME LABORED AND MY CHEST JOINED IN THE TRIANGLE OF PAIN

I EXITED A CERTAIN LIFE THAT I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PULL AWAY FROM AS MUCH AS I DID NOT WANT TO BE LIKE WHAT BOTHERED ME IT WAS SO CONVENIENT AND SO FAMILIAR AND SO UNSAFE AND DRAMATIC AND EVER PRESENT AND ABLE TO CONTINUE ON WITHOUT ME AND WHEN I THINK OF MY ABSENCE AND ASSUMED THAT IT MEANT SOMETHING TO THE PEOPLE I COULD NOT CONVINCE TO JOIN ME IN THE ESCAPE I COUNT MYSELF AMONG THE FORTUNATE FOR NOT BEING AS ACCEPTING AND EXPECTING MORE OF MYSELF AND MORE OF THE WORLD BUT LESS OF THE PEOPLE IN IT

BEING PROUD WHENEVER MY MEAGER EXPECTATIONS WERE EXCEEDED LIKE NEEDING HELP BUT NEVER EXPECTING IT IN A TIMELY MANNER THINKING THAT THERE WAS NOTHING IN THIS PLACE TO SAVE ME SO I HAD TO SAVE MYSELF FROM MYSELF AND GUNFIRE AND OTHER BULLETS AIMED AT ME I COULD NOT SEE OR FEEL BEAUTY WHEN ALL THERE WAS TO OFFER WAS FEAR AND SCARCITY

I USED TO WONDER WHEN THE SUN WOULD COME AND LOVE ME BACK TO LIFE AND NOW WHEN I RETURN I FEEL LIKE A WELCOME STRANGER NOT NEEDED BUT WANTED AND ACCEPTED AND SOMETIMES LOVED ENOUGH TO LOVE MYSELF FOR ALL OF THE CHOICES I MADE WITHOUT REGRET I CAN SAY YEAH THAT HAPPENED AND SOMEHOW WE ALL DID MORE THAN SURVIVE

WE LOVED OURSELVES TO LIFE AND INTO A TIME AND PLACE WHERE WE COULD SIMPLY FEEL FREE ENOUGH TO BE SAFE ENOUGH TO BE HAPPY ENOUGH AND BE FULL ENOUGH AND TO CARE ENOUGH TO TURN OUR FACE UP TO THE SUN AND TAKE IN ENOUGH LIGHT AND AIR TO BURN OFF AND BLOW AWAY WHAT MIGHT HAVE CONSUMED US
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