The words are stuck
In my throat
Like memories that recall

For once one has
Lived through such
It is not so easy to forget
The chaos,
The dread,
The waking terror of
Once known as real

So echoes of the past
Call up out of no where
Like an old friendship
That was thought to have ended
And what they want can’t really be
That of a friend

They want something don’t they?
Just like lingering fear
Just like terror
They want me to give in
To give more than I have
To relent
To admit
I am weak.

And yet,
That was before I learned
To speak
That was before I knew
What meant which friends were true
That was before I saw
Love didn’t equal pain

And now I wear headphones
To block out their noise
I laugh in their faces
Or at least try
The memories won’t take me this time
And the pain of the past
isn’t here right now,
Or is it?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

One thing I know for certain
Is my heart has never failed
No matter the beatings
The shouting
The hatred
Or abuse
My heart keeps beating
Sometimes frantic
Sometimes very faint
But the rhythm of my life force
Is still in place.

So I’ll put my head down
Keep on keeping on
Once again
Like the instability
Of the road
Is my only true friend.

And I’ll keep stepping towards
I’ll keep trudging along
For I’m too damned determined
To quit singing my song

Yes truly I can see
Why the caged bird sings
And like her
I’ll never forget
The purpose, poise, and strength
Of my very own wings.

-Angel Marie Russell

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