This Year

Clementine von Radics

Poema publicado en “As Often As Miracles“.

I’m not sure what to say about struggle except that it feels like a long dark tunnel with no light at the end. You never really notice until it’s over how it changes you, and there is no going back. We struggle a lot this year. To everyone who picked a fight with life and got the end shit kicked out of them: I’m proud of you for surviving. 

This year I learned that cities are beautiful from rooftops even when you’re sad, and that swimming in rivers while the sun sets in July will make you feel hopeful, no matter what’s happening back home. I found out my best friend is strong enough to sling me over his shoulder like I’m weightless and run down the street while I’m squealing and kicking against him. I learned vegan rice milk whipper cream is delicious, especially when it’s licked off the stomach of the boy you love.

This year I kissed too many people with broken hearts and hands like mousetraps. If I could go back and unhurt them I would. If I could go back even farther and never meet them I would do that too. I turned 21. There’s no getting around it, I’m an adult now. Navigating the world has proved harder than I expected. There were times I was reckless. 

In my struggle to survive I hurt others. Apologies do not make good bandages.

I’m not sure what to say about change except that it reminds me of the Bible story with the lion’s den. But you are not named Daniel and you have not been praying, so God lets the beast get a few deep, painful swipes at you before morning comes and you’re pulled into the light; exhausted and cut to shit. The good news is you’re alive, the bad news is no one can heal you but yourself. You just have to find a stiff drink and a clean needle before you bleed out. We are all carrying scars. The good news is skin grows back thicker once you’ve cut it. 

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