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Hannah Southard May 2021
To the days where the sun has not yet risen and the waves have not come crashing to the shore, in my mind you are shining with gold and flickering in the opalescent glow of hope.

You are both incredibly large and shockingly tiny. You are everything and more just outside the reach of my outstretched arms and I run to you eyes closed with reckless abandon.

You are the softest place to rest while I look back at the tears I shed in anticipation of your coming and to laugh at how they could fill oceans and streams to float on and on towards the every fainter horizon oh solid land.

I hope you come both quickly and as slowly as the stars circle the velvet black sky where no light reaches. You are the single point each of the tangled yarns I wade through now finally point towards.

You are terrifying.

But so am I.
Hannah Southard May 2021
My breath is caught in my throat.

It holds back a scream so guttural that if it were to escape it would echo in the mouths of caves halfway across the country.

It keeps in the words that I see tattooed on the backs of my eyelids as they repeat over and over, the ones that get twisted if I focus on them too hard.

It sits next to my heart, wedging itself more tightly the faster it beats as knives twist in the core of my body.

One day it will let go.

One day I will too.

The air will rush out of my lungs for hours forming the words that demand only to be shouted from the highest places my legs can carry me to. And the tears will stream down my cheeks making puddles at my feet reflecting the image of the upside down trees I have climbed to the highest branches of.

And once all the air is gone I’ll float back down, I’ll stare at the stars for hours, thinking just how small the words were the were my whole being, how small my tears compared to the oceans I will cross before I settle somewhere new.

One day I will go.

One day you will too.
Hannah Southard Aug 2019
People like to believe that they are both what is inherently wrong and what is blessedly right in this world. Inside our brains lives both a God complex and the most crippling anxiety to have ever roamed the face of the Earth, constantly battling to keep us walking down a tightrope of morality suspended over the eternal threat of damnation no matter if we believe it or not.

We are born uptight, pretentious creatures, and spend our years trying to paint our beings in the most perfectly haloed light, while trying to make it look like we are not holding the paintbrush for ourselves, but for those around us. We can never be truly selfless, to be completely and utterly so we would have to break our own necks, peel back our own flesh, sacrifice our own immortality (if one can call it that), and be forgotten. To be truly selfless is to take yourself out of the equation all together. To recognize both the significance and insignificance of the sparks flying around your body and mind.


This is not to say that we cannot be powerful. That we cannot walk out into the darkness and scream loud enough for the whole cosmos to feel. We can hold a torch to the looming mouth of the caves that stand before us, waiting for us to decide if we want to play God in our own existence, challenging the burning feeling in our core that begs for us to turn back to the light.

The horrid truth is that it may or may not matter which way we go. We can lay down our flame, close our eyes and twirl in circles until the compass points us to no where, and walk whichever way that may be. If enough time passes, if we walk until our feet bleed and our hands shake, it won't matter where we have ended up. That is the place we must sit, the ground will welcome our form, and we will know we are exactly where we are meant to be. Alone, quiet, proving nothing to the world, proving nothing to ourselves, unafraid and unashamed.
Hannah Southard Apr 2018
I am hosting my own funeral today.

Everyone’s invited.

Come watch as I dance around the flames that turn the broken pieces of my being into ash and take a handful with you. Fling my dust to every corner of the earth with as much force as you can muster from hatred, or love, or both.

Listen to me sing my own eulogy through the tears of joy which stream down my checks as I raise both hands to the sky after chaining them to my sides for so long. Listen to the stories about the version of myself currently ablaze on the pyre before your eyes.

Listen to the ringing of the bells I’ve tied to my ankles so that I cannot hide within my movements, each step in-time with the music of the cosmos which sounds through the dark tree branches and echoes in the empty spaces I’ve created.

Feel free to tell your own stories about the dead, be them happy or sad. Don’t wait for me to finish because I’m not sure I’ll ever be done. Dance with me, throw yourself on the fire, let go of the dying pieces of yourself and watch them become ash, mixing with all the other until you don’t know what is you, and what is me, and what is no one.

I’m hosting my own birthday tomorrow.

No one is invited.

No one is allowed to watch as I wander down to the waves and walk slowly into the cold water, letting it wrap around the brand-new pieces of myself. My legs will be tired from dancing, my arms still lifted upwards trying to feel the wind weave between my fingers. I must be alone now, the pieces of me that were afraid of loneliness are being scattered by strangers to the corners of the world where my new body will never travel.

This is not a celebration to be witnessed. This is a homecoming for one. This is a rebirth without fear, and sadness, and pain. It may not stay that way for long but for now it is pure.

If it doesn’t last, keep your eye out for an invitation to a funeral.

Wear your dancing shoes.
Hannah Southard Dec 2017
Something inside of me is broken.
Some piece of the machine has cracked, the gears in my mind have come to a stop, rust has begun to collect.
Some days it feels like I might be dying, or that I may already be  dead.
A numbness creeps into the spaces between my fingers and toes, spreading slowly up my arms and legs, wrapping itself around my middle like a snake, squeezing the life out of my lungs, the last of my air pushed out from between my quivering lips trying to form the words to scream for help.
I used to think that I was strong, powerful, mighty, but I’ve come crashing down in a ruin that would put Rome to shame.
The pieces of who I thought I wanted to be have collected around my feet, crumbling so severely that they blend in with the dirt beneath me.
I have been left naked, without any sense of self, afraid to look down and see what scars people may have carved into my two-toned frame.
I’ve tried to be so many people recently that I’m not sure I could pick my own mind out of a crowd.
My thoughts revolve around people and places that I want to reach for, but my heart holds my hands at my sides like a straight jacket, doing all it can to not be torn apart before it has a chance to find a way to pull itself together again.
The blood in my veins has begun to flow red hot and ice cold at the same time, two separate types of burning which should balance out but instead have learned to coexist.
I want to slice open my veins, pour out the two streams, mix them into a lukewarm state of nonexistence, so that maybe I can feel something somewhere in the middle of two extremes.
I am scared.
I feel alone in a crowded room.
I crave attention but shy away from the light.
I like the shadows.
I like the darkness.
Sometimes with a body lying next to me, but oftentimes with only blankets to pull closer.
I like to feel protected but I hate that I haven’t yet figured out how to protect myself.
I haven’t figured out how to give myself over to a person, to trust that they’ll give me back, to learn how to take myself back.
I haven’t figured out how to not be serious.
How not to love with everything.
How not to feel pain when everything is not what I get in return.
I want to learn how to feel any emotion except sad.
To be able to touch my own body and feel more love than in the fingers of someone else, as they trace over the skin I’m still tracing myself.
There is an incomplete self-portrait in my brain that I have been relying on others to finish instead of transforming the mangled pieces with my own hands, letting my fingertips smudge out the harsh lines to become soft.
Soft is how I want to feel.
Soft, like the sand underneath the smooth stones and sharp shells by the ocean.
I want to blend myself into oblivion, until I am nothing more than the idea of a body, until only my mind remains, and I learn that soft is not weak. Soft is powerful. And neither is something to be afraid of.
Hannah Southard May 2016
I don’t feel anymore
As a child I know I must have felt something
Sadness, happiness, love, anything
But now
I’m afraid I’ve lost my emotions
Deep inside
A string was cut that tethered my mind to my heart
And my heart to my mouth.

And when you touched me so softly
I should have felt something
Tremors through my hips moving up and down my body
I know what I’m supposed to feel
There should have been sparks when your lips touched mine
When you whispered in my ear over the pounding music
Outshone only by the pounding of my heart
Trying to beat out a rhythm to my brain
Some strange Morse code that was lost in translation.

I want more than anything to mend myself
To reattach the string that let love flow through my veins
But even when I try
When I light a liquor fire in my stomach
To mimic the burning of passion
My hands remain cold
Lifeless as they stroke the sides of your face
And I want to love it
I want to lay down beside it
Feel again like when I was a child
But it seems like only one emotion was spared
When the others were destroyed.

Hannah Southard Nov 2015
I have lost my strive for greatness.
The piece of me that wanted so badly to make something of life, has withered away,
dried up from the restless nights where my mind wouldn’t quiet down so my eyes could sleep.
Exhausted and malnourished it gave up trying to breathe life into my lungs,
leaving only ashes like those from cigarettes,
Burning holes in the lining of my hopes.
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