Asymmetrical Hummingbird

July 27, 2017

I have a limb that is dead.

It has stopped serving me long ago.

It has festered under the surface

for years and now

it is dark and immovable

and rotten at the core.

It is my bane and my handicap

and at times it still

throbs and ails me

and spreads poison

to the rest of my body.

I could have left it behind

as a kindness to myself

but I carry it around with me

and dress it up

and make it look pretty

and pretend

there is nothing wrong with it

for fear of disrespecting you,

you who have killed it

slowly, with the kind of love

you thought was best for me

and if I ever choked

and if I ever begged for relief

you’d accuse me

of being ungrateful,

feed me with guilt and shame

and cut yourself

and bleed for me

and tell me

it was that limb that did it

so I just learned to bear it,

taught myself to live with it,

live with the marks

that were slowly getting permanent

left where your brand of love

had pressed its fingers

to stop the flow of blood

until it stopped fighting back

until it stopped breathing

stopped being mine

but yours

but this was your token of love

the only kind you knew how to give

so in honor of that gift

I keep it close as a souvenir

can’t bring myself

to cut it off, this limb that

freedom and inspiration

can’t touch anymore,

the part of my soul

for which water and sunshine

and beauty and poetry

and any measure of saving

is too late,

but the rest of me grew

and the rest of me bore flowers

and the rest of me learned to soar

in spite of it all

while you

continue to nurse that

one lifeless limb

and believe that as long as

you can hold it,

you still possess me

and sometimes I suspect

that when you look at me,

that limb is all you see.

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