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Today I grew older.

I used to agree with that poet
who wrote,
“Pain must be fully realized
until it no longer
serves a purpose.”
I used to be smart enough
(I eventually got smarter)
to embrace the beauty
of suffering
and let it contribute to who I am.
Make me stronger.

But I know now
we’re not equal
to every pain.
I know now
what doesn’t kill you
can make you bitter.
I know now
there must be more to life
than nursing a hurt,
that not every storm we can weather
deserves the tears
on the dark heavy cheeks
of our Heavens.

Like a fool
I danced with the fire
that is you
again and again,
and you burned my wings
again and again.
I used to exult in the agony,
derive a strange satisfaction
from the wounds inflicted
by your own (writing) hand.
There used to be no limit
to what I could endure
in the name of love
until I reached rock bottom
with loving you
and suddenly I’m scared
of the whole idea of you
so scared
that the mere sight of you
sends me running,
so scared
I pass the hallways
of remembering
with furtive eyes and
my back pressed against the wall,
so scared
that the mention of your name
makes me tremble
and I ask myself
how I could have let it
get this far,
how I could have allowed
this pain to sit too long
in my heart
without doing anything about it,
letting it distill and ferment
and turn into fear.

Phobias are irrational.
But many other things in life are, too.

I’m doing the adult thing now
and walking away,

Another dead end marks my journey
and though I lose
a big part of me
in realizing my strength has boundaries,
in admitting I’m no longer host
to an infinity,
with what little strength is left in me,
I am still free.