Hands up

by Tabitha Lean

Lying in the darkness she had grown to fear,
cocooned in the loneliness she had grown to know,
she figured she was in some kind of shock-
she went about her days as though nothing was happening,
straining extra hard for normalcy,
but falling just short of achieving it.
Everything was just a bit different than yesterday.
Nothing drastic, just the little things.
Her food tasted a little strange.
The air smelt a little different.
She lost all awareness of time.
She had been left alone sitting in miserable silence
as if she was the butt of a cruel joke
to which everyone was privy, but her.
And tonight, the quiet scared her because it screamed the truth,
so she lay in bed,
and listened to the rhythm of her own fear-
because the sorrow...
well, it was never ending,
only amplified by this isolation...
it had gotten into her pores, her teeth, her bones.
Some days it's all she could do to just breathe through it.
She knew her brain had created unhappiness ruts in it,
like tunnels bore into soft tofu,
and like a diligent soldier,
she just trundled back and forth, morning and night…
over and over the same terrain of torment.
She thought to herself that maybe she had
gotten so used to being unhappy
that she had forgotten what real happiness felt like,
is that why colours had no discernible hue anymore?
Oh yes, she was so far below ground level
that just breathing felt like too much work,
fear was shrinking her spirit
and she knew that there would come a time
when she would have to choose
between turning the page and closing the book…
but tonight was not that night…
she closed her eyes tight and thought
if the sky was indeed going to fall down,
then she better brace herself
and hold her hands up.

Poet biography:
Tabith Lean is a Gunditjmara woman, born and raised on Kaurna country. As a First Nations woman she is blessed to have her mother’s stories and the blood of all the women before her coursing through her veins. It is in their honour, that she centres their unique knowledges, and privileges their voices and stories in all her work.

Twitter: @haveachattabs

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