Courage
by on April 18, 2017 in poetry

You sit across the table from me

Perched on a stool

By the corner,

your back against the red brick wall

In your blood red heels

and your blood red dress

Your bloodshot eyes wide and looking

Straight into me

‘“I’m numb on the inside”

Words spoken with far too much passion

for them to be completely true

I know that

But I also understand.

Staring at your beautiful, anguished face

The one I just want to kiss

and hold in my hands –

more and more with every phrase you unleash –

I hit the boundary of my own force field

The one protecting me from the true and deep and gutting hurt

That will come from loving you

A subtle, invisible veil that keeps me

one step removed, observing, untouched

Shielding the part of myself too afraid to embrace your essence

Too cowardly to feel the agony of my own solitude

Too terrified to experience

the colors and vibrance of aliveness as I touch your fingertips –

as bright and potent as your blood red lips,

moving and speaking,

though I can no longer hear

as I tuck myself away to tune out

the pain

But all of this is a lie.

In truth – I am a warrior of the heart

Fearlessly, fearfully vulnerable

In truth – I am taking you on right now,

staring back into your wavering eyes

With constancy – and with every ounce of this warrior spirit –

Ready to withstand the pain and loss I know will come with staying

Ready to surrender my battle-scarred soul to your mercy

And this is an act of love, almost-stranger,

Though you may never know

As I sit here in front of you

As I hold your hand

As I whisper “I’m not leaving”

It takes every ounce of courage that I have

To stay alive on the inside

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