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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

Hold the Sky

Show me the beauty still left in these pieces, show me the proof that I have a purpose here. Hold the sky a little longer, while I stand under it, searching for my name that I swore was written there once. I can’t find it now. Perhaps the last storm that blew through grabbed my name, took it into the night, tried to pocket my thunder, used my light to show the stars how to shine. Or maybe it’s all in my mind and my name was never there anyway. I try to piece together the skyline, take note of how the sun burns so gracefully and it’s really brave the way she’s at peace with being unseen and I afraid handing the whole sky over to the moon. I’ve always been close with the night. I’ve been having conversations with the moon since I started talking and one thing I know for sure is our secrets are safe up there. I can’t speak for the stars though, I threw so many wishes to them, they never made their way back to me, but still they twinkle and shine, hold pieces of wishes and time. So be it. The night doesn’t hold the answers anymore, no proof or message to show me the way. But sometimes I chase the light the fireflies carry, the flames go out before I can see where they hide, I stay with the dark, listen for clues, and the trees say nothing at night. The forest has flowers. I go there sometimes and pick them for myself. I want to hold the blooms while I’m alive, not be covered with them after I die.

I never did let my roots stay anywhere long enough to call it home, but sometimes I borrow the light from the wings of those fireflies, make believe they’re candles, sit with the trees and say it’s my birthday. The cake is always good here, the stars look on, maybe this is the year they shed light like proof, when I close my eyes, make a wish, and blow out these candles. Hold the sky a little longer. I can almost see my name again.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

More Than I Can Carry

When does it stop hurting? I ask myself that a lot and maybe it never really stops completely. I think we all have something that hurts, no matter how much time has passed, it’s a fresh wound, still tender and gaping open with reminders of that time that seems like yesterday or right now. The more we try not to think about it, the more it bleeds, takes us to our knees, and here I am, doubled over. You learn a lot from that bathroom floor of despair. You learn a lot from that fetal position sob. You learn a lot from all the pieces of your own heart and the one part that didn’t break, but stayed intact so you could feel the heaviness of carrying it. Maybe we learn the most from what we carry when putting it down is not an option. Maybe we’re not supposed to hold it at all, and it’s only me, walking around with this heavy heart, packed full of all the things I never could let go. So I stand here, holding more than I can carry, and I feel it for the millionth time, because maybe, just maybe…. this is the one time it turns out differently and the ending doesn’t kill me.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

Take This Map

You remind me of myself several years ago. An untarnished version of me, so innocent, before the world took me by the throat and tried to bleed the good out. I look in your eyes and see the softest parts of me, before I had to gather all the stones thrown and fill the cracks, before I learned to stop walking on eggshells and pick them up and throw them instead. You remind me of myself with your heart so full of everything good and your hands full of dreams so big, you can barely carry them sometimes. I hope you never put them down, because even if you don’t know it yet, they do come true. You remind me of someone I used to be, and although that’s not who I am anymore, I remember wanting nothing more than for someone to come along and give me a sign, tell me which path to take, or perhaps give me a warning of ones to avoid.

You’re doing great, babe. Remember to believe in yourself and keep the soft, no matter what. No one has the power to harden you. And remember, all that love you’re searching for… you have to find it in yourself, so don’t forget to look there first. Know your worth and don’t forget it. No one gets to determine your worth other than you. No one. Ever.

And just in case you have no sense of direction and get lost easily like I once did, just remember: everything you’re searching for is already inside of you; Home is you. No matter what.

Home is you.

I hope this reaches you in time.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

When You Get Here

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

Call My Name

Call my name

when you see something beautiful,

like a sky with a song

or a storm that follows you home.

Call my name

when the words drop,

when the music stops,

when the meaning

of the song

grabs hold of your soul,

and feeds you your heart.

Call my name

when the sun rises,

when you can’t stop looking,

when the view is worth

a picture

and the picture has

a thousand words

to write home about.

Call my name

when you cry for no reason

other than the way

something beautiful

rips your heart out

and you know

I would cry with you.

Call my name

when you write a story

in your head

before you put it to paper,

and call my name

when you have to change

the ending

because the story of us

didn’t end beautiful.

Call my name

when your heart breaks,

when my song plays,

when you start dancing

to only the words

and nothing makes sense

but everything does

and you sway back and forth

to the meaning

that was always written

in my eyes,

if only you had looked in time.

Call my name

for old times sake,

as I throw the music

back to the words.

Call my name

one last time;

my song is too loud

to hear you.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

I Miss Me

I really miss you, in case you didn’t know. I miss the way you used to smile, like nothing bad could ever touch you, the way I could see the passion reach out from your heart, through your eyes and just take hold of the world like every day had a new sky you were seeing for the first time. I miss the way you were the life of the party, always making everyone laugh, and how your spirit was a magnet for every color I’ve ever seen. Even the ocean wanted to be the one to get close enough to touch you, hoping maybe it could hold you long enough to carry you and just maybe… some of your magic would spill out and let the sea drink in every scar that made you so strong, let the wind carry the softness that put music in your song. You used to say, everything that ever made you fall or cry or break were the things that had to happen so that you could become unbreakable, unshaken, and unapologetic for the strength you carried like a medal no one could dare pry out of your hands. You said you used to be ashamed of all the times you had to rip out your own spine, plunge hard into rock bottom and crack wide open across every sharp edge of your own heart just to learn how to crawl out, grab every piece that ever made you bleed, and use the pieces to build a whole new universe that cannot crumble. I miss you. As fierce as you always were, you did crumble… and I’ve never seen you stay down this long. I am watching the ocean, checking the horizon, looking for flames or any signal at all that you are crawling out soon. That you are just resting a little longer before you reach up to grab every piece you can use to stand on until it becomes unbreakable, unshaken, and so unapologetic for the medal you carry, the universe you build, and every flag you fly that was once a scar. I’m waiting. I miss you. I’m watching the sun every time it rises, every time it sets… I’m watching the sky to see you again… where you used to say, face forward, eyes toward the sky, whole heart opened so much, every beat plays a song that you were saving for a rainy day. I am waiting for your storm, any flash that looks like your lightning, counting every second to hear your thunder. I’m waiting for you to come back and say, you can stay down as long as you want, hurt as much as you need to, cry as hard as you want, because the sky always could use another lesson on falling to teach everything how to grow from breaking open, spilling every single thing you ever knew, and losing it, so you can get it back again and appreciate it more.

I know what it’s like to lose it all… I am waiting for you to come back, unshaken, unharmed… anything at all.. so I can help you build another universe… where the lights are on, the music never stopped playing, and the sky is waiting to tell the ocean how it learned to shine from your smile…. I miss you. How you taught me to love every version of myself and let go when it was time… the way you showed me how to wear my whole heart in my eyes and the way a smile can change everything… the way you taught me how to land inside the breaking, touch every edge until I learned the lesson in every wound enough to survive any fall. I’m still here…. waiting for me to come back. I’m still here, watching for you… to get up, bring me my own spine, and every piece I lost on the way down… so we can crack wide open, stand on every edge that ever made us bleed.. I miss me. Never thought I’d miss any part of myself I lost, but I do. I miss you. I’m waiting here, holding my softness like a song without music, checking the sky for my name, listening for my thunder… waiting for the sky to break open and teach me how to grow by losing everything I’ve ever known… including myself. I miss me. I’ll wait under the storm, cry it out as long as I need to, until I’m ready to stand up, shake my spirit back to life, pry the medal back from the hands of the flames, and burn without being sorry for the way I shine. Even when I’m broken, I’m unbreakable. Even when we’re broken, we’re unbreakable. Let’s go. The spirit never cracks. Bring your pieces home; we have universes to build, where the lights stay on, even in the dark, so we never lose ourselves again. I’m holding a new sky for you and it never has to break again to show us how to grow; we know, and every flag we fly that was once a scar just became a shooting star. Make a wish on me. I’ll make a wish on you. We always do come true.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

Wanderer

They call me a wanderer

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