my smile is tired (burn out chronicles)

seven months to the day:

i forget how to puddle
how to surrender to sleep instead of putting myself down
forget the path that leads to my house
and what’s left in the icebox
forget i don’t have wings of my own
that i couldn’t really relax onto those clouds
i forget how to inhale into my belly
and everything feels too heavy
even the good stuff, even love

when people ask me how i am
i want to weep about the end of the species
how cancer is winning, how greed and emptiness are winning
how i wish some nights to be normal, no, to be ignorant, to see no futures in my dreams
no blood, no guilt, no drought
but then i can’t really swallow
i can’t really catch enough air for all that

i say: fine, a little tired,
exhausted but inspired
overjoyed, emphasis on the over
moving a bit too fast, you know how it is
flip the focus away from me
barreling towards the end of my questions
you can say almost anything with a smile
even if it’s all a blur these days
i’ve been getting by
smiling a light beam cloak over everything

but my smile is tired
all the requests are fair but there’s too many
yesterday i found a circle of women on the verge of tears
we were all the eldest sisters of our houses
and we whispered to each other
‘i know how to stand up and pull
i know how to push and handle it
i know how to care and attend to
but i never really learned to rest’

i’m slipping back and away in myself
gonna study something i wasn’t taught
to trust in my body
to choose the longest path,
to go so slow you can’t see me moving
to focus on the intimate and avoid the crowd
to expand my black time*, to be a real person,
to learn what i can before i die
to fill my smile back up from the inside

* thank you to Prentis and Mark-Anthony for this concept
* thank you to lots of beloveds for catching the ashes and breathing them back towards flame