Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

Swear to God

I have seen the deepest part of the empty, been swimming across the surface of waves offering to carry me light as a feather before it makes good on the promise that heaviness weighs the same as hollow wishes it did. I have trusted the word of the top holding me tight like a swear that I will never feel the drop of a bottom dying to catch me in its teeth that bite like a crash lying about forever. I taught myself not to run from arms that prove not to run first before reaching back, learned a hard lesson that some arms are as empty as the sky, reaching back only to grab me by the heart and shake me hard enough to bleed colors that paint breaking across the cry from my throat. Woke up speechless, arms broken from trying to hold lies with a hope they would turn true like wishes never do, but I close my eyes anyway, face aimed at the sky with a please god burning my tongue and swallow birthday candles that tastes like reality crumbled into a sick joke laughing as I choke on pieces from the cake I never got to eat too. Isn’t it funny when we close our eyes like holding hands to blow out the flame with a wish inside? I remember doing it with all of my heart like a promise could not break if you believed in it hard enough. Life breaks us open sometimes with a whip that lashes across the skin of all we thought we knew to be true, cuts in with a reminder like a scar calling our names out in a language only understood by fools. Well I’m a fool. You’re a fool. The scar says so. But the lesson stays unlearned when the wound is opened wide like that sky that fell to drop everything so you could feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and it’s heavy enough to stop you in your tracks. You want to wait for the next train to roll through, take some of that load from you, but the train station closed when time stood still like a question we didn’t get schooled in. Stand there and wait with that look on your face like a surprise hit you in the mouth without saying sorry. Well, I’m sorry. This is how it is. Such is life, love. You have to let go of that clock you’re holding for dear life, pry your fingers off the hands of time that froze over mid-sentence before it counted the wishes your eyes looked at like a certainty. Nothing is certain, I promise you that. I swear to god on that, and the stars too. I swear on the flame and the candle and the cake, and even on the sky still split open, hanging empty. Cross my heart, all of it, pinky promise, eyes closed, sealed with blood, sister, smeared into a deal, brother. That train is not coming. The scars said so. The ocean took me under once, told me secrets in the deep, just before the sky broke itself to spill proof like a scream carved from my own throat and now listen to the silence of the songs that stopped. That’s the sound of the world ending. Hear it? The sadness crashes loud when it lands in the deep of the quiet. My heart echoes the noise unheard, just between the beats of when everything flatlined to nothing.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry


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