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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

Through Dirty Windows

She was the girl who had it all and some would say she still does, but it’s hard to see when you’re looking in from the outside, through windows she stopped washing years ago. The dirt settles across the glass like art no one sees the beauty in and every once in a while she spits into the cracks, spills profanities like compliments, and says, “you deserve a canvas as broken as you have always been.” And she smiles the kind of smile that holds the sob inside like a prisoner who volunteered to be in solitary confinement. It’s better that way. Sometimes we sit in a cage that’s unlocked, as we dangle the keys, and think of all the reasons we deserve to be there and all the reasons we don’t deserve to stand up and step out. She can save herself, but she can’t save herself. She knows what it’s like to feel worthless, maybe that key is the proof that she’s not, and that scares the hell out of her. So she sits in the comfort of that cage, on the other side of those dirty windows that sometimes still look like art, and she holds the key like her own heart, knowing as long as it’s in her hands, it’s safe from breaking. She is safe from breaking. She was the girl who had it all, some would say she still does. Some would say… I still do.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

Give Me Broken Roads

I don’t want a journey that’s smooth sailing, unfailing, a straight path that never crosses over into crooked lines or hard times. No. Give me the broken roads, paved with lessons only found in the pain of falling through the cracks to rock bottom. Let the sharp of every edge touch me hard enough to leave a mark, let every mark teach me how to bend every edge smooth, until it crumbles into stones I use to stand on. I want to be both feet in, hands filled with my whole heart in pieces, cracked and bleeding. Give me every crack to stand on without the fear of falling. Give me every sky to fly in without the fear of flying. Show me the way the storm gets a rise out of the ocean and let the ocean take me under to teach me how to taste the salt in every wound before it heals. Let me love so hard, I always break from holding on and break again when I let go, and let my pieces forever linger between butterflies and edges of promises before they broke.

Let every stone I stand on break a thousand times as I climb mountains to prove how much I want it. I’ll plant patience like flowers at the top as a sign that I made it, and leave a garden paying it forward to anyone who comes behind me.

Let me look back at my life and see an adventure, where I was always on the edge of my seat, waiting to see the sky fall again and again to test the weight of all I can carry and invite me to fly there. And I will fly there with grace, using the wings I earned from my own strength, resilience, and unapologetic determination. And let me soar there forever, leaving a trail in the sky that spells out my name like fireworks that always sparkle, stars that always hold wishes, and a sky that promises to never fall again. Because I made it. I made it.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

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

#stephaniebennetthenry

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

#stephaniebennetthenry

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

#stephaniebennetthenry