I wish I could tell you there was an end to this.
I wish I could tell you this was a phase, a rainy season;
after, that there would be a long, mild summer: all sun
and no burning.
I wish I could tell you that sadness
could break like a fever, and after you are better.
You are stronger. You bounce back.
You are stronger, maybe, but you do not bounce back.
At least, not the way you used to.
I wish I did not have to tell you
that the world would grind you down.
That it would tell you to stand up for yourself, but each time
you dared fight, it would sucker-punch your gut,
send you crumpling to the floor, leave you
breathless, grasping your middle, gasping for air,
waiting for the next blow.
I wish you didn’t have to know
what all those blows feel like.
But you do,
and so I say to you
the one thing I still know is true:
life is terminal, but it is survivable.
You learn to live on a little less oxygen,
take the punches as you are dealt them–
even, eventually, shake off the bruises.
It will take getting used to, but the good news is
a body can get used to anything.
Even bruises, darling,
So pull your punches.
It’s only pain.