He told me, a trembling wretch, to be unafraid,
and I was uncomfortable with the request,
despite his gaze, so gentle, giving me some comfort.
He told me that he had overcome the world and all its trouble,
and I couldn’t conceive it.
The smallest things were such a struggle, that the world’s truest troubles were too much to even see clearly.
Still, he insisted, his eyes bright and brimming with unlikely optimism,
his hands held mine and I could feel the harsh winds through the holes left by the life he had lived.
How could he ask me to be unafraid?
How could he ask that of me, with thorns across his forehead and a target on his back?
Couldn’t be see what I was afraid of?
Was persecution a foreign concept to the fool with thorns on his head?
How could he ask me to be reborn, when my soul still felt sullied, despite his sacrifice?
Despite my sacrifice and all the scars that had come with it?
He saw. He saw it all and he still asked.
I had tried to lead the life that impotent, angry men had demanded of me,
fighting back against my own biology and the strange, sweet chemistry that greeted me when she and I would lock eyes across the room…
I gave it all up.
I gazed at the ceiling,
praying to Jesus as a shadow I could not look in the face pawed at my lifeless body.
I would rejoice at balled fists meeting my unwilling flesh from one of them,
because it felt less repulsive than a tender, troubled kiss of another,
and why shouldn’t I be punished?
Wayward winter child with her pudding and her pie,
kissed a girl because she was cursed,
and now everyone is crying,
so why shouldn’t I suffer?
I just stared until the ceiling burst into flames,
the stars bursting into view,
because that is what cursed, unclean girls have to do.
He would be there,
the only man I could stand,
thorns adorning his dark, wavy tresses that were wild in the night’s wind.
He simply said, again, that I should be unafraid.
Speaking to a body that was vacant,
he repeated himself as the stars span around his head,
and I thought for a second that I might be dead
(I might have even wished it),
but I was alive,
sailing through the ceiling,
dressed in pretty clothes as the stars sighed in unison.
I was unafraid.
At last, I was unafraid.