Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

The Light of the Room

The truth is hard sometimes, like a dark room always circling with a cold draft, and we call to the shadows or we look away from the ghosts. I’m talking about the room that has a thousand blankets, the one with so many arms offering to hold you, the room with windows full of sunlight and perfect views, but yet nothing can warm you. It’s as empty as anything I have ever known. This room, with its frozen center, is the one place we linger into, where the doors and windows lock behind us. That room. If you’ve been there, then you know, not even god can open the door. Not even knee-pleading, raw knuckles, empty-throat screams aimed towards the sky can save you. It’s the room of your own mind, where your heart goes to die. And there’s nothing pretty about the slow death that seeps in, chews away with hungry teeth, and hollows you out so deep, the only thoughts that fill you are the ones begging you to end it. Whispers to you at night that the pain will stop if you do, the emptiness will end if you do, the worthlessness will stop stacking up against you… if you do. And sometimes we sit in that room for years, trying to turn those voices off, trying to shrug it away as if it will go away. But it never goes away. It stays. It stays. And those voices start becoming the light. You contemplate walking into it to find a quick route to a peace you once knew but don’t remember anymore. And fuck… it hurts. There are not words to describe the way it hurts. I only know that I could be on a stage, spotlighted perfection, with a million people applauding, asking for an encore of more… and still I would feel only that empty room of me, begging for the light that does not shine like the coldest, darkest reflection against the inner turmoil eating me alive and licking its lips after I finally give the voices the answer they were so hungry for. Until they are not anymore. I dance in the light and the weight of the world unlocks the room and it no longer feels heavy, but light and free. I fly to the place where I can be me once again, before the room locked me in and broke my soul when I wasn’t looking. And the eyes of the world turned blind, washed their hands, and swept the mess of me under the rug where out of sight, out of mind, means everything is perfectly fine.

And I am now. I am now. I am now. I swear to god and all the windows in that room. I swear on my smile that never ever was. I swear on my voice that turned silence into perfection. And I swear on you, wondering about the signs you missed. They were flashing right in front of you. You closed your eyes and sat on the rug, where my pieces lived, until they didn’t anymore. So, don’t cry now or pretend everything seemed fine. Don’t say I had it all or you never saw me fall. Don’t say anything. Just don’t say anything. Leave it to the silence of that empty room and remember how long I stayed there. Remember the suffering and turn it into a lesson, that sometimes the truth is hard to look at, but turning away from it does not mean everything is fine. It only means you saw all the signs, looked each one in the eyes, decided they were just too ugly to read, and too messy to hold without getting your hands dirty.

How clean are those hands now?

Stephanie Bennett-Henry #stephaniebennetthenry

4 thoughts on “The Light of the Room”

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