A Poem for my Shadow

By Mia Altamuro


My shadow is dark and heavy,

glued to the ground below me

like a depressed girl laying in bed

staring up at the ceiling

with her eyes burning.


It's the whispers that halt

once they manifest into a real girl

made of bones and flesh,

who kept a secret for a whole town to bare.


A girl who carries on the ghosts

staring from the corner of a mirror

broken into pieces that each reflect their own light

and reveal their own life

of what you could have been.


A life who took you by surprise.

A crack of thunder, thief in the night,

the kind of thing that happens

when the graves come to rise.


When companion and stranger switch places

and what you wanted is struck down with a divine hand,

there is trying to put together the pieces of the mirror

to fit inside the holes that ghosts have left

inside your spirit.


It is chaos, it is pain

like the Armageddon they say

is on its way,

all the same

that too is a plan

just not the one you have made.


Maybe the mirror holds another reflection

of the girl who ran away

broken, more than bruised,

she is one step above angry;

the kind that will not mold you,

but will fold you.


At what point on our damaged path

do we look back

and see all the glass pieces

as bittersweet, and not misery.


At what point

do you surrender your anger

and lay down your burden,

to throw your hands up

and say that, yes, you forgive

and you see

the broken pieces are still a part of me

to feel the weight of heaven come down

and take the weight of hell off of your shoulders?


The shadow who I can barely see,

but so strongly believe

is hurting and yearning

for the life that happens to be mine,


knowing

that the weight has always, in the end,

eased off of my shoulders

not because they became less heavy

but because I learned how to carry

and knowing how the shadow

was only ever telling me

there is light ahead

if I just stop looking back.


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