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When I was little, the word grace turned to gravel in my mouth,
I'd grind it, this five-letter word, breaking molars and mind,
Spitting out blood with the remains of that ugly word: G r a ce
Grace was never mentioned on the news, or when women placed their hands round a dead womb of empty dreams,
Or when men sat homeless at corner stores,
The I don't love yous and the you're no good for the worlds.
So it couldn't exist.
All the hurt, the lies I'd tell middle-school-me about weight and skin needing to bleed, about anxiety needing to turn hands to squeezed fists.
And if--if--grace existed, it was carnage. Daggers. Knife-shine. High-velocity blood-spatter over skin.
Grace, if it did exist, was cyanide gas in the lungs.
When I was fourteen, the anxiety raged hard,
Nights of collapsing chests and ground out screams:
And depression settled like dust over dolls in an attic.
Grace existed, I could feel it.
I needed it to exist, full and alive and sporadic.
Grace turned to screeching sobs.
I threw glass at bedroom doors and called it grace.
I'm sixteen. I open my hands wide.
I kneel down.
Months of hopelessness, of hard breaths,
Of this cracked heart pumping out fire.
I'm sixteen. I bow my head.
Years of wondering what grace is (it has to exist!)
Years of feeling sulfur-reeking breath,
Listening to the screams of past mistakes,
And talking to the stars of shattered friendships, of absent mothers.
I'm sixteen and the words come pouring out as whispered sobs:
"I need Your grace. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry,
Take me. Take every inch of skin. Take every heartbeat. Take my story.
Give me grace."
And after the words come out, flowers begin to bloom in my hands.
Stars grow in my belly.
Chains break and I can hear them: Clink! Clink! Clink!
And this love-feeling everyone spoke of?
Well, I call it grace.
Grace means breathing through landslide lies and earthquake enemies.
Grace means a surrendered heart to light.
Grace means giving up the blood-fight
And living the light-fight, the joy-fight.
Grace is joy-water in deserts, in holes,
And transfiguration of dark spinning to light.