you are a thousand other stories too

i don’t really want to talk about it anymore—

the thing that has grown accustomed to my name, ivy

snaking up my walls, its sticky mouth holding on

refusing to make space for other things. how i water it

every week, give it light

and a place in which to breathe, how i say:

this is all mine.

this is what was done to me.

this is what i have been given.

i vow to keep it alive, to keep taking cuttings to plant in little pots.

in case i begin to forget.

now, at this age

even my words shy away when i call them.

they have always been too honest.

they say: oh no, not this again.

they say: it is time, let it go now.

they say: you are a thousand other stories, not just one.

rip it off the stone, show it just enough mercy to keep

yourself from returning to check its pulse, just enough

mercy to dispose of its body.

let’s tie it up with an old rope, attach it to a new rock.

let’s drop it over the edge, watch it sink.

once and for all, let’s leave it behind.

see how it is November again, pay attention to the light.

you are circling closer to the door, closer to the moment

in which you will have just enough time to say:

wait. so soon? is it already time to go?

in which you will say:

wait. is this really what mattered the most? what i held onto?

stop. please. i am not ready yet.

i only want to remember the things i should have held closer.

— you are a thousand other stories too

© Liezel Graham 2022

{Image by Sergey Kvint on Unsplash}

words with myself about the stories that shaped me, the ones i choose to hold onto, the ones that i keep worrying with my hands, the ones i keep planting fresh each year.

we are our stories, but we are also more than our stories.

this poem will be in my new book.

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