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The old woman on the corner stops me on my way to work.
She has eyes like fog lights in the middle of the rain
and smiles like someone with secrets.
The old woman knows me better than I do.
The old woman asks what I’m so afraid of.

Truth is, I tell her,
the storm that hung back all winter finally
rolled into the space beneath my ribs and I
am shouting thunderclaps from my mouth
just to stop the water level rising.

I say,
I’m still chasing a ghost and I will never be proud of that.

I know what you’re thinking, but
boys with the sky in their lungs are bad for you,
and I’ve been shotgunning ozone off his kisses so long,
I forgot how to breathe.

I say,
you can listen to your heart,
but you can’t lead with it.
And I think I’ve spent my whole life
with my heart out in front of me.

I tell her,
he was all pebbled clouds
and spoonfuls of starlight.
I tell her,
I loved him and I was so afraid.

She holds my hand so softly, and smiles
one step at a time
like a roadmap unfolding.
She says,
The fear is good, little lightningstorm,
The fear is good.

LITTLE LIGHTNINGSTORM, by Ashe Vernon (via latenightcornerstore)
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