Every piece of myself I despised
you put to rest with the simple
cover of your hand around mine.
For once in my life, I didn’t falter
a step or question the sidewalk
lined with cracks
and endless trenches.
I trusted your steady feet to guide
me, not out of the darkness,
but through it.
Step by step.
You didn’t expect me to heal
like a flip of a switch
in the middle of the night
when you wake to get a glass
Instead, you warmed me like slow
fire against wood grains frozen
from the icy cold of the morning.
Your patience grew in me
and out of me
and glowed like a tiny firefly
in the middle of a field
the one solid speck of light
meant to give you hope
you’re not alone.
Every gaze you turned on me became safety,
because when I was in doubt
you softly commanded me
to hold my chin up.
You never saw a single negative in the
black light of my shadowed traits
like film strips left too long in
a dark room to process.
Night after night,
I expected to wake and find you gone
yet you proved my unmerciful heart
wrong and you stayed.
God damn it, you stayed.
Day after day.
Night after night.
Now, I wake
and I don’t hate the face I see
in the mirror against the wall.
You taught me to love me
while not even once expecting
me to love you at all.
Copyright © 2016 Pearl Bayou