A Love Poem To Myself

ian dooley

hey lovey.
you hanging in there,
sunflower?
i know that
some days are hard,
the ones where you have
to beg
your petals to stay
gold –
the ones where you can’t
let them see, taste
that you’re
broken,
wilting.

but thing is,
you haven’t been gold
for a long time,
have you?
you’ve been painting
fool’s gold
over the gravity
and cold
of your mouth
like cracked earth
that has
forgotten
the grace of
sun.

you are allowed
to be
shipwrecked.
no one expects you
to be
whole
when the hurricane
hits.
you are allowed
to mourn the sailors,
maps, and steering wheel
that you have lost
in an ocean that resents
your faith.

you are allowed
to be
yellow brown dead
petals and heart
spilled across the floor
like war cry ghosts.
no one expects you
to be
warm
when the blizzard
hits.
you are allowed
to lose parts of yourself
in this winter.

so, wreck this vase if
the world cuts your body
wide open
and doesn’t stay
to watch you bleed.
show them
that you’re still
fucking right here,
bleeding mess and all.
make them see. scream it loud
that your soldier heart
might not be able to get up,
but it’s still a martyr
beating something fierce.

so, tell everyone
that it’s brave
to break, yell, cry
at the shatter of
gunshots against your
skin.
roll up your sleeves
and re-introduce your
scars and wounds
to the fight
because you need
to tell the sun
that you’ve been
brave.

you are more
than the wars and storms
that your skin
has fought.
you are more
than yellow brown flooding
the white marble floor.
sweep up the petals;
don’t keep them pressed
in your favorite books.
don’t give these ghosts
the power to haunt you.
you are more
than these seasons of hurt.

you may have lost
parts of yourself along the way,
but you’ve grown, too.
and you never stopped
being beautiful –
beautiful in your desire
to grow, to be wild
and free,
to be honest, to be brave
and true.
my prayer is that you continue
to grow into your war cry
and let your gold
back in.

ignore the people
that stare and talk
about your scars.
your flaws have made you
a better soldier,
a taller sunflower.
so, wear your scars
the way the night wears
a new constellation.
show them every star,
every inch of your sky.
tell them where you’ve been.
tell them where you are going.
be proud of your strength.

not all days are hard,
and those are the days easiest
to remember what it means
to love yourself.
but some days are
winter all over again,
and it’s hard to breathe.
just remember that your scars
are the words to the story of
how you survived the war.
the world needs to learn
how to love every scar.
be proud of the way you fought
to get here.

you have so many seas
left to explore.
you are going places
that they’ll never get to touch.
go down fighting
if you must,
because the fight
is worth the sunset
at the end.
look at you, lovey.
you’ve grown so tall this year.
and i’m so, so proud
of you
and how far you’ve come.

you’re a fighter.
a good one.
you should be proud of you, too. TC mark

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