a different kind of gratitude

“Well,” she’d always say, “you survived.” As if that were enough. And I’d lie on my bed with the blanket pulled up over my head so nobody could see me. And I’d think, “This is not living, this is just existing.”

Thank you, delicate measuring device of my body, for weighing it all and saying it was too much. The icepick in the side of my head, the stab under my shoulder blade, the twitch of my left eyelid: thank you.

Thank you, barometer in my belly, for tracking the rise and fall of pressure. Thank you, nose, for sniffing out the truth. Thank you, feet, for running away.

Thank you, rage, for peeling off my old face. From these raw new eyes, I bless the haunted castle of my body and all its little ghosts.

In my belly, love and fear lie hopelessly tangled. Thank you, clever combing fingers of my heart, though you’ll never undo all the knots. Let’s save the scraps, and I’ll build us a nest. And when it’s three o’clock in the morning and we can’t sleep for the lumps under hip and shoulder, I will thank the Princess for Telling It Like It Is.