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Oct 2013
Honor the sea
for the sailor in your blood.
For the lack of anchor
in my ankles.
I've been drifting sailor
since divorce papers
taught me how to choke
the eternity out of a vow.
I am great at leaving
what I love.

2. Mental illness runs
in my mother's family
so leaving was more
like a race for sanity.
A relay to forget.
I am afraid that Liz
has schizophrenia
because she stopped writing. 
I am afraid that I too
may get caught between
a rock and a hard place
called depression.
When a poet stops
being a poet,
all that silence must leave
room for the walls
to start speaking in tongues.
Love yourself out loud
because when homeless
holy ghosts can't live
in your poems,
they post themselves
in your dreams.

3. On the days
when your body feels
more alley than altar,
and you can't manage
to believe in any God
who could think
you are worth dying for,
go back to bed.
Scatter your sacred congregation
of bones beneath blankets.
Don't come out
til you feel whole again.

4. Love yourself to pieces.
Your muscles only grow
from being torn and rebuilt.
Destruction is a form
of creation.
It is okay to be shattered skin
And flooded eyelids.
It is okay to dance
in the middle of your ruins.
Movement is a sign of life.
Show the world you're
still alive.

5. Love this magic
called life, because you
are the child of magicians. 
We, people of Black suits
and bow ties
of braided chains.
We, wands for wrists,
perfect for reaching
for potions and people
and dreams.
We, top hats for teeth,
perfect for abracadabra speaking
things into existence. 
We, artists. 
We, storytellers. 
We, preachers and poets.
We who spit spells disguised
as spoken word.
Poems that work like prayers
birthed between pews.
We, walking sanctuaries
who birth life. Love, 
you are nothing short
of magic.

6. When my father moved out,
my mother stopped moving.
Became a southern shipwreck
of scriptures and beached
her hands across the crests
of my cheeks.
Looked at me to be
lighthouse during storm.
I read that as adults,
we try growing into the traits
that would've rescued our parents
but I'm hoping you never
feel the need to save me.

7. These days,
my mother's hips
don't miss a chance
to kiss a beat
like Stevie Wonder
was just invented.
And isn't it lovely?
How she finally
learned to wear
her lonely in the sway
of her shoulders to keep
the shame of an empty
ring finger from spilling
over her children.
Love, you come from a long
line of magicians who've
nearly died trying to pull off
a miracle like you,
but I don't need your rescue.
You are not anyone's SOS.
You are the result
of prayers wrapped in
the silk of southern accents.
My plagiarized draft of a poem
called God.
You are the only
graven image our creator
has ever commissioned.
Treat yourself as such.
A revision. After Tonya Ingram
Written by
nic  Atlanta
   Odi, Ghazal and r
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