Live where you fear to live.*
“Heart on fire, ashes everywhere
— there’s no return from a red like that.”
~Fado Menor by Manuel de Freitas
it doesn’t matter. it never did. it is for the best.
these are the lies we tell ourselves when the world gets dark. when the stars in our souls begin to explode, and our hearts feel impossibly like tinder. the match is always ready. it is foolish to think otherwise. even if your skin feels like the ocean, it will still burn. likewise, a promise made of water means nothing and everything in the desert. always, when it’s night, the monsters come out. the mirror is a monster in its own right. do not place your hand on it, and whisper a name at midnight.
sometimes, it hurts too much. a gasp for air, only to find the ocean swimming into your lungs. sometimes, it isn’t the pain that kills, but a possibility, unexpected. an idea, like an earthquake, shatters the foundation underneath your feet. trouble is, the fault line is in your fingertips. trouble is, the wreckage begins with a smile gone plastic around the edges. a false start that turns into something endless.
but this is not how things end. this is how they begin – coupled with the wrong pronouns, a missed train, a late arrival, a doorbell that rings. happenstance and heartbeats, the way a hand lingers on your back, or your shoulder, living there like sunlight. this is the wayward grace of a window, the promise of green and tomorrow – and tomorrow. this is waking up, with crazy hair and nothing on.
say yes. say love. say please.
then, take a deep breath. then, wait.
this is why we run, hearts filled up with hurricanes. this is how we reappear, with our smiles full of simple magic. this is when we remember who we are, answering the ringing question – who do you think you are? – with a fierce truth.
this is how we are consumed by fire, nurtured by water, lifted by air, and grounded by earth. this is untied hands. this is hope that smells like copper. this is a sunrise that tastes like childhood. this is the way a kiss unravels every lie.
it does matter. it always did. it always will.
*line from the poet Rumi