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Brianna Duffin Apr 2021
For as long as I can remember,
the women of my family have lived
in hunger like hulking tigers in a cramped cage.
Love is quickly used up, its quality fading
from golden light into grainy shadows
flicked haphazardly across God’s great canvas.
After Love departs, nothing remains but
the splinters where we have torn away limbs
and dug holes in search of that light again,
the flecks of gold streaked through our hair,
the ones that know better than revisit our homes.
When we give up, we sit in our drab backyards
to watch the sun sink over a police state
masquerading as the ultimate state of grace.
We tuck our freedoms into bed, kiss our sacred rights
goodnight in case we never get the chance
to lead by the hand into the light of day,
and sneak back down to the kitchen for one last snack,
maybe two. Maybe more, maybe our mouths
wait in secret to transform into one bottomless pit
as we reach with every breath we take for something
we have always known and long since learned
we’ll never be able to grasp in our earthly fingers.
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Brianna Duffin Apr 2021
Passing by an old brick building on a slow road
I almost laugh to think the last time I was there,
I thought I’d found who I was supposed to be
When I barely knew how to do anything more
Than stay quiet and stay out of everyone’s way.

I told my old soul sisters I’d see them soon
But I haven’t seen those pieces of my heart in a while.
Back then lies went down easy with a smile
And I didn’t know when everything would change
Because all the other new beginnings I prayed for
All too quickly became the worst things I could imagine.

It nearly broke me to know tragedy like the back of my hand,
But every story has its perfect ending and the last days
Were truly (almost) everything they should have been.

Looking back now I felt like I was flying through clouds
Even when all I wanted was to let myself scream again.
Read the full version of this poem exclusively on Medium here:
Brianna Duffin Dec 2020
A diver, down far too deep for her own good
She fills in the blank spaces with whimsy and dreams,
Gives herself a grandchild here and a good book there,
Perhaps a batch of cupcakes to prove she has life left to live
A hike through the woods to remind her she can be strong
She’s still breathing, isn’t she? She swims down again.

Maybe she dreams herself across a river made of snow
Or transforms into a spider, crawling across ceilings unknown.
She screams from the pulpit, " be brave, have faith, give thanks"
She stands in front of Congress, telling them to get wise.
She returns to her bed, the air too clean- she’s a messenger now
Except she’s forgotten what war she was supposed to wage.

She debates going deeper, to the caverns of her treasure
Where she hasn’t dwindled any since the glory days
Where she can cast aside the constant question of how long to stay.
Uncorroded, she descends until heartache fades from view
Left in the rain for a round or three with eternity, she grins
It’s easier, she insists, to swim than it is to sleep. So she dives.
Inspired by various poems from "Dearly" by Margaret Atwood.
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