I count the nicks in my skeleton,
each tally a memory I’ve buried
beneath layers of skin,
hoping I’ve grown tougher,
hoping to keep it trapped there.
But there are too many chips
and not enough bone left,
soon I’ll have to tear open
the narrow lining, scarred and chapped
as it is, and free some of these
demons that have haunted me
so quietly for so many years.
I say quietly but there has been
a cacophony ringing in my ears
since before I can remember -
the howls and the screams and
the growls of all the things
I thought I could leave behind me
echo in every word I speak and every
time I sleep they swallow me whole
and keep me there until the daybreak
when I can shake them off and
bandage any of the cracks they left behind -
but life is a series of lessons to learn
and demons are the tests we take
to prove we’re going to be okay.
I can’t say I’ve ever been okay.