an essay

We pay for the sins of our grandfathers. They didn’t know or mean it but we do. In our twisted acts to gain approval from twisted roots that never could. We can give and break and bend and contort our ways to sanctity but it will never be enough for the wolves. And there is no end in sight of the clawing, towards a mountaintop we know does not exist, not for us. There is no promised land for those who were never promised anything but striving. They set out the rules and the game and they wanted you to play but when you played, you danced and that was not in the rules. So the game will go on but the winning is futile. The rules have been broken. You are not the king. And a heart breaks up above for what is pouring down is love but it’s too late and it’s too cold to keep you safe or warm or well anymore. A generation too late. A generation too slow. Their mistakes carved into the crevices on your face. Salty water, not salty enough to save the flesh underneath. The years of rot cannot be undone. And you cry. That’s okay that you cry. You will keep allowing the salt to burn the ground that they never let sprout before. You work your own land so that your own descendants can grow deep roots in the ground that you gave them. It will never be easy. It will be lonely work. They must never know. They must believe in deep rivers and waterfall and grass so green it aches if they ever will look to a horizon you built for them. We must all believe that the earth knows better, does better and we are the product. Not a sore spot that came about by chance and cruel fate. We must believe in our own miracle. That the world gave birth to our being. We cannot believe we are ordinary. Even if it is the truth. 

Is that all it is? All it is to live? To bury thick tears in the holes left to you to cover. To hope no one ever digs them up or figures them out. To hope that the next one will not fall in those same holes because you have worked and whiled and worn. You don’t know it will work. You don’t know that the next won’t feel the same and the next and the next and a world keeps wailing even though you thought you figured it out. A heartbreak splits earth. Deep into a core, a plate, a molten lava middle. Deep and churning and full of the things that make skin burn like fire. Where we sit when it breaks, the earth feels. She will never pretend that she doesn’t. She takes it and holds it when we can’t. And she spits it back out when we need it again. To remember heartbreak. To know the gorgeous pain the world will give. She will keep doing that. To our content and to our exasperation. She doesn’t tire of gorgeous pain. It will flow through the cracks. 

You are small. That’s okay. You are supposed to be, I think. That pain is real and raw and in your chest because it’s cellular. It’s atoms and molecules splitting and screaming because you had sewn them together with sweet words and fantasies of elsewhere. But this is your life. It is not the hardest but it is hard. There is so much sorrow mixed into the monotony. It’s why you seek bright spots. It’s why you build and create and dream and fix and hope and search and stumble for a speck of the sun. it was held from you for so long. It was rationed for a lifetime. It wasn’t allowed to breathe. So you weren’t either. That rage you feel is the sun. the soft sun stuck inside you. It got caught in the cracks, in the rivets, in the raw places you forgot to cover up. She is anger and rage and kinetic energy and all of the things that make you know you are so deeply, painfully, truly alive. It’s the aching. It’s the aching that tells you. It’s the aching that will keep waking you up. It’s too early to sleep. 

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