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?

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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-fifty-eight.

that sound is either
the wind gushing between glass panelling,
or a truck whizzing on the highway.
each possible when leaving 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-forty-six.

definitions seem static.
they’re published in stocky books,
collecting dust at the back of my shelf.
but what defines someone as
rich, beautiful, strong on paper
is not equivalent to anecdotes,
lived experiences
or personal identification.
definitions are meant to be applied
not literalized.

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.

one-hundred-forty-one.

“does ‘corporate’ just mean a place
where people talk about their juice cleanses
and the number of times they almost ate a donut?”
it sounds like it,
so i will sit here redefining the word,
informing my colleagues that i ate a donut on sunday,
filled with hazelnut cream.

one-hundred-thirty-eight.

we’re like what happens when
you take the odds and ends
out of the fridge,
because your stomach is growling
and you need food.
you whip something up,
tossing in spices and oils
alongside unparalleled ingredients.
the combination doesn’t historically belong,
nor has it been seen in any cookbook
or instagram branded #foodporn.
but we’ve invented something that works,
better than any written recipe
could have ever suggested.
spicy, but sweet,
spontaneously savoury,
mild when we need to be.