i was once colored to smithereens, prior to the greenstick fracture of the sky -
before the yellow gave in to the red, bruising guiltily, into night.
i remember when the words birthed between approximated vocal folds,
hissing when they touched along the vertical, were open wounds.
i remember the ache, bittering when it reached my tongue - more
salt than relief. always, less comfort than deceit.
cheating into the hollow breaths between my ribs, pretense
branched rootless. not once reached for the kiss of my spine,
just refusing the simple rebellion of growth. its tangles
reaching like aerophytes for the collar of my lungs,
always fruitless. when it left, there was air --
perhaps still digging in search of sunlight in the floor
of my mouth, but there was air.
it baited for my chest to take note, battle the pressure
and weigh the odds. check if it would be objectively secure to live
from here on out. i was once a cradled mess in my mother's
knapsack arms and some days, i am a fetal return to the same haven.
i was once a penance. occupational hazard. prayer.
the likes of exorbitant use of breath, rolling rosary bead after
spent rosary bead.
i am the sky's namesake, and the peace behind closed eyelids
and i once believed -- i was once the hush between my parents' resting
heads. i would breathe in their warmth, barely sleeping with the moon;
sometimes, if you press your ear flat against the ground when light loses,
you can count how many heartbeats my mother skipped, for all the seconds
my lungs rebelled against the air. i hiccuped,
choked, kicked for life until my wrists pulsed,
and finally exclaimed to the breaking sky, there is a name
under my father's tongue, and a scream in my knees
to start living; i will reach--
i will reach until the stars disintegrate to meet me again.