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Changing the Song

His words are sharp, jagged, tearing even, by a dull-witted knife, repeatedly moved against the skin, but without much hope for a clean cut. So many years of wounds reopened, threaten deadly infection. I've always wondered if gangrene was green in color.

You'd think the skin had grown tougher after all this time, but it might be that it is slightly more tender.

I take this to be a good thing. No matter the wounds, I prefer tender.

I prefer to challenge the idea that such hurtful words, if spoken, must be true. I prefer to see what deep pain and fear has birthed them.

I prefer to rub my skin with the balm of those who recognize that every war has two losers.

I yearn to find it in my being, that stopping place, where war is spit out, and laughter bubbles up.

I absorb his words like pollution, hoping some deadly cancer is not being colonized in my body, but without enough consequence to keep me from taking a deep, cleansing breath even with heavy traffic. I let the sirens change key as they pass by, without hailing them to save me. I let the smoke he blows rise up into the air, as counterpart to this Parisian café, as the cross-hatched imprints across my backside.

I let his words be what they are.

I make room for them in my story, not as something I marched against for long--having long abandoned the fight--but as something that reminded how sensitive the skin, how powerful the words, the voice, to vibrate in the body, long after they are no longer audible, like a violin whose skin still echos with dark music, long after sound has faded.

I no longer need protect my skin, to cover it, or shield it from discordant tones.

Rather, I let the music play itself out, and fill me with sensation. I let it wash over me, and through me. I welcome the waves.

I let peacock feathers stand erect, in all their splendor, and gasp at hidden beauty.

I inject a spaciousness from deep within my being, dipped from an eternal spring of precious love of self, no longer requiring regular stoking.

I sway with the dance as soothing aria swirls about the discordant tones with tender, knowing caress, so as not to spook, until the cacophony falls into mesmerized step, and they merge in sacred harmony.

Such strange music results, gently tucking itself back into my center, leaving me its refrains, and new echos that speak of remembering.

I weave this melody around and through, a braid of song for him, for myself, and for those upon whom I've unleashed my own torrents of fear, my own unassuageable grief, disguised as blame and anger.

I rest in song that makes room for all of it. I rest in song as it all falls away.

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