Learning to Let Go (a Song for the Brave)

©️ Tabatha Wood 2022

In the deepest part of silence
as life’s embers spark and fade,
I arise on a wave, barely conscious, 
washed up on a faithless shore. 

My hand in your sorrow, you
saved me still. 
Much more than I ever deserved. 
In the shallows…
Do you hear the wind calling? Calling.
Calling for our broken souls. 
We wait our turn to answer—braced,
too tongue-tied, too bone-tired.

Too sore.

And onwards, wounded, 
through the loneliest days— 
Dear One, the bleakest of days, the Dark—
where we stand, did you ever
really understand?
Enmeshed, enshrouded, 
and always enraged.
We were warmed by the letters we burned.

Our choices clutched close to
our throats. Our chests.
Our lights dimmed, whispered
secrets and sins!
Those letters sealed shut with our snaggle-toothed grins. 
The ashes laid bare as our skin.

In the safe-spaces,
the calm places, we reached out 
to lost memories 
of stonewashed jeans, 
lime green socks, and neon dreams. 
Of cotton that both breathed and 
changed with breath.
A chameleon costume, a theme.

Like love forbidden, forgotten,
and stashed in little boxes shoved
under our beds. 
Pictures and poses of the people we were.
All the faces of those that we are.
Now hear the mighty Ho! of our greatest escape, 
we pour the static like our lies 
inside our heads. 
And now you ask me, you beg me, you implore me
desperate still,
to bring you comfort through these 
most ragged times…

when you wondered why 
your head felt loose. Untethered. 
Disconnected and pulled apart. 
Why all your limbs hung as if slip-stitched, 
and snipped through,
in ever-tightening, forever sliding knots.
And I, 
with stone-sour stomach, pumped 
and dry…
as you waited, whip-tied and wrung.  

Our long-lost sorrows sit like rocks, 
in our guts,
grand grey monoliths of guilt.
As leaden hands might weigh us 
down, our world teeters
on heavy shoulders.
You say, Dear One, how every moment 
feels like pushing the oceans
uphill, and I know
quite well, how
hopeless that feels. 

I remember.

I remember those times, 
when I too was once caught
and cursed–Black Spot– 
in the rage of the wildling sea. 
With the sting of the winds
on my foolish skin,
sand blasted and 
smoothed away, nothing left but 
my melancholy like shattered glass—
hard edges and slivered shards of 
ground hate.   

And here in the broken mirror, I— 

I open them all, 
those myriad doorways of hurt. Of pain.
Those echoes of what came before. 
Those entryways, alleyways into 
the very darkest days, 
in the shadows; and 
what we do to soothe the pain. 

We trick ourselves that still we live,
for Death is but a dream we don’t remember.
And if we could, if we would
Dear One, we might 
long only for the pause…
a full-stop jolt
to that ceaseless, endless sleep.   

And that would never do.

So reach, Dear One, reach, 
for all those moments you’re owed.
The debts and the depths you must claim. 
The hours the days
the weeks unfolded
like birthday gifts—wrapped up and waiting. 
Bright boxes of your childhood, 
trauma trinkets of lost time. 
What we yearn for as we learn to let go. 
These are promises given to those who bend
but never