The Things I Carried

I am torn.
Split down the length of my spine, a gaping hole
From the weight of all the things I’ve carried.
The accumulated mass of all the things I thought I was supposed to be.
The layer of expectations and responsibilities that came with my body parts;
The fear, the shame, the unspoken things.
Then I added the armor I thought I needed to combat these unfair truths,
But only pulled them in closer when I piled my weaponry on the clefts of my shoulders,
A shield of indifference, a sword of rage, a helmet without holes to see or breathe.
Then I laced up my family’s hopes and dreams, the burden of my parents’ only legacy, and strung the knapsack of all these things across my back.
I gathered the contingencies that came with my upbringing and the color of my skin and strapped them around my waist.
I looked down upon the great expanse of our history, realizing it was impossible to carry it all, And could only bring myself to pick up the smallest pieces to shove in my pockets.
I took my brown dilapidated backpack, stuffed it with all my knowledge and promise,
Threw in what I thought it meant to be loved, to be important, to be whole, along with the better of my destructive tendencies, and pulled my arms through its straps.
I stood hunched, knees shaking, as I picked up my final brunt to bear.
A small medallion, that I wore like a crucifix, containing all my regret and guilt;
Somehow I had managed to possess it in such a small space, but its weight increased with each passing day.

But all of it was too much.

The things I carried brought me crashing down into the dirt, and because I had so thoroughly fused them to my bones, they tore me open.
So I lay on my belly, grinding the dirt between my fists , cursing whatever god would make me carry all this weight.

Then you came along, cutting away the things I carried, discarding those I would no longer need, and gently piled those I would.

And you got down beside me in the dirt, on your belly, and told me you would wait

Until I was no longer torn.