Seashell Woman

A kind woman once told me,
All that matters is that you love your skin.
That it fits you well, that it keeps you warm,
Through hail, rain, and shit storms.

That it is strong enough for sharp words to bounce off,
That it’s soft enough to absorb kind ones.

She held a seashell to my tentative ear and said,
‘Listen girl, there are waves of hope crashing onto your shoreline,
They’ll dissolve those fears you’re building into an army,
And your salty tears are just the start.
They’re louder than any gunshot would be anyway.
So here’s a boat and here’s some oars,
You can sail inside my chest to where the wild things are,
Those wild things made of wild words that we travellers string together in concoctions that birth things out of our control,
that climb walls of repression built from fear to howl from the summits screaming:
WE ARE REALLY HERE AND WE HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.’

This is the twelve year old scribbling phrases in his margins,
This is the receptionist shouting verses in her shower,
This is the seventy year old muttering beauty under his breath on the bus,
This is the student who needed to see her knee knocking teacher stand up and speak first to realise she could do it too,
She could always do it.
We can all, always do it.

The silver tongued nymphs I know spun me a key out of their tinkling voices,
Weaving together time and laughter and memories into a steel stronger than the decision I made to stop trusting myself.
I found it unlocked the door doubt was hiding behind and I caught him with his pants down and said,
‘Listen buddy, I know all your sneaky tricks now.
I can count the breaths you’ve stolen and I don’t expect them back,
But my lungs remember the debt they owe so they only have space for inhaling kind things now,
That my veins can absorb without feeling like they need to set something free,

See, my seashell woman saw through the veil of smoke I used as a shield.
She blew it away with a salty breath and opened a secret door in her chest.
And as my cheeks became the seabed for a fresh wave on a new ocean,
She taught my hands how to unlock my chest with the words that id spoken.

So this is me now, standing in front of you,
And this is my whisper of truth.

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5 thoughts on “Seashell Woman

  1. Aawwwwwwwww this poem!

    “My lungs remember the debt they owe”

    Still jealous of that line. Lovely to read this one again 🙂

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