one-hundred-sixty-five.

fortune,
not in a pay cheque.
summer,
on a sunday morning subway ride.

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one-hundred-sixty-four.

sitting on the curb
just to feel the sun.
eyes closed,
no headphones.
a reminder that the heat,
the brightness
and the way your eyes flutter
when the light coats your centre
are real,
unlike the typed out problems
in your inbox,
explaining tasks to complete
with weak
direction.
something the giant star in the sky
would never even think of doing.

one-hundred-sixty-two.

if we talked about anxiety then,
the way we do now,
in our separate lives,
in different cities;
with our separate pals,
in different threads,
would our worlds have continued
to collide,
instead of disrupting over
‘uncanvassed’ trauma?

one-hundred-sixty-one.

wise:
not for the letters at the end of your name,
but for the self-reflection and questions:
“why does this experience cause me _____?”

blame. shame. pain. gain.

one-hundred-sixty.

a long drive
way into the trees,
so high the sky
is barely visible
until the break in between.
the stream trickling
under the paved bridge
to an open body of aqua,
turquoise-green,
fresh, rocky water.
a quick glimpse of the scene
before you speed by
and the forest looks like a blurry photo,
again.
not enough time to check if the
river was running dry,
but enough to recognize
it was flowing fine.
at first glance.
at first probe.
at first inquisition.

the passenger’s seat.

one-hundred-fifty-eight.

that sound is either
the wind gushing between glass panelling,
or a truck whizzing on the highway.
each possible when living 10 floors
up in the sky.

though, when that one robin grips
onto the balcony,
tweeting without limit,
and the spiderwebs bloom
from unit to unit,
it’s impossible to misinterpret
that the season is changing.

the sun will stay a little longer and,
the afternoons in the warm living room,
with the walls tinted yellow,
will become evenings.
mid-mornings by the window,
will be become wake up calls.

i don’t know what i’d do without
seasonal reminders
that something better –
as comforting as houseplants kissing
sunny floor corners –
is never that far away.

one-hundred-fifty-six.

hands clasped in prayer,
right at the heart.
innocence and religious,
hoping something greater is listening,
somewhere above us,
hidden in the pink-grey clouds
at golden hour.

holding an opal crystal,
tracing a bracelet,
repeating an affirmation,
talking to the one you lost too soon.

whether organized or personalized,
hope is defined by the hopeful,
dreams by the dreamer
and wishes by the wishful.

alive, dead or in-between.

one-hundred-fifty.

dear:

in time, you will not fear the shape of your face,
or the hair on your arms,
or the bump and crook of your nose.
soon, you will not wait for his approval,
because you will learn the only acceptance you need is your own.
in a few years, you will get better at laughing at yourself,
ignoring when others laugh at you.
you will build barriers around things you know will hurt.
i know you will learn to say no, or yes,
and not feel guilty.
the world doesn’t end for you,
you’ll want to create for it, with it, in it.

one-hundred-forty-four.

a dark room,
morning light through the skylight.
branches peaking, brittle and still,
it smells like muffins and old bookcases.
a cobweb dangles from the highest point on the chandelier,
the free-standing coat rack could be from a movie.

a bed and breakfast, small town dreaming.

one-hundred-forty-three.

i thought i wouldn’t get through you.
i was stuck at the start, in a pool of hot
tub water, stuck to one of those water jets.
you were attacking me —
or was i letting other people do that?

my friends said, “your eyes are dark,”
and, “i’ve never seen you this low.”
i was drowning in that pool of hot water,
i was stuck there,
dreading the air free from my bed.

i learned: i have to be strategic
about what i give myself to.
i love so hard and so deep that
when i’m forced to give something up,
i crack more than a broken joint.

i learned: i define, “career,”
and my job doesn’t define me.

i learned: i can still do good and do well,
without being hollowed in hell,
surrounded by people who won’t lift me up,
who will tell me i’m failing, only because
it will guarantee them the raise
and me: the same job with bad pay.

i learned: you’re just a year and you aren’t forever,
but with lessons
and hurdles
and journeys uncovered.