My limbs have been steeped in the spackled shadows of darkness,
Covered in filth, cowering in crusted corners these long years.
I have been wrested in the searing grip of flooded emotions,
Been mired in the muck of choking fear, hammering guilt, suffocating shame
So deep, my arms gave out in the struggle, wearied by the battering of waves
As they wrack me under the surface, and I felt myself sinking ever-downward.
This year, more than ever before, hope seemed endlessly far off, untenable,
Something unreachable, a glimmer perched high above bottom waters of regret.
I have been crushed, stifled by the sense I could not move, even a finger, I could not
Get back up one more time. I have been stepped on so many times before, cast aside,
Used, then discarded in the vice of selfish hands, taking from me what belonged to me,
what was mine alone to give to another. For so many years I have yearned for hope,
But was held by the fervent grip of silence. Silence quieted my hope, my resolve
To get back up, to look up, even for a moment. A flicker of hope splashed like hot tears
Against the shores of the horizon. There I heard a chord, a chorus, a measure of music,
And I remembered how to hope again. I rubbed my legs which had been atrophied
By remorse, pain, the daily struggle, even minute to minute, and I planted my feet
On the firmness of the ground, hard and unmoving, yet yielding a promise:
A flame strong and tenuous, flickering as it burst before me, and I pushed off,
Rising, my shaking hand reaching for another hand, and I moved in the direction
Where I would at last be restored, made whole again.