Phoenix

I boarded a bus battered and bruised,
Not by sticks or stones but words,
And my skin has never been sugar sweet,
But repetition sinks in until it’s all you’ve ever known,
Until it’s all you’ll ever believe,
Because they’re validating all the secret fears
That you’ve had at night
When whispers felt like screams.

All I wanted was to take the wheel,
Stomp on the accelerator,
Drive at 100 kilometres an hour
Going nowhere, everywhere,
Anywhere but here,
Until we run out of gasoline,
And then walk the rest of the way,
Where I could cocoon myself,
And turn into the person
Everyone wants me to be,
Because they told me that’s the only place
I could ever hope to find happiness.

I took a lungful of mountain air
And suddenly this was enough,
I felt the rawness of my skin heal
And it’s not any stronger but it’s mine,
For once I felt like the butterfly
And not the caterpillar,
So much closer to the sky than I’d ever been,
Untethered to fear that keeps me grounded,
And I knew this moment wouldn’t last,
But maybe I could carry it with me.

Vacations don’t last but memories do,
And now I know who I saw on that mountain,
Not a caterpillar not even a butterfly,
But a phoenix that finally discovered she has fire,
And that’s why when the world turns to ashes,
I come out of it stronger than you imagined.

Because I saw my shadow in that mountain
And fought to find the girl, the woman,
Battered and bruised but glowing like an ember,
Skin that has never been sugar sweet
But quivers with the power to fly,
Too young to know that people will always
Try to steal her power from her
By validating her fear instead of her hope.

They never wanted me to know what they could see,
Scared that with my power I would burn it all down,
Never knew I’d light the match when I hit bottom,
Just so I could bring them down with me,
Not knowing or even hoping I’d survive it,
But doing so nonetheless
because this is who I was born to be.

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