A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art

Bones, a Lantern, and a Future

jeremy-bishop-6fbX_qHQCP8-unsplash.jpgBY NICOLE WHITSELL

The second I am outside,

The cold wind pierces my ears And my eyes
And my cheeks.

Every step away is bliss. My soul,
Lighter than air,
Wants to follow it…

The call.
The sweet scent Of green pastures Beckons me out.

The sound
Of songbirds singing, Calling for their mate, Entices me.

The great unknown, Once terrifying and huge, Has become
My only refuge.

Yet I look down, And in one hand Is that same old Bag of bones.

I take it everywhere.
Its constant presence
Always manages
To drive me back whence I came.

In the other,
A lantern
Black as night
And cold as winter.

The fire went out long ago, But the wick is still dry.

I’ve vowed to light it again
and carry it to the ends of the earth.

Perhaps none of it matters. Perhaps I’ll forever be With this bag of bones,
In my childhood home.

Or perhaps one day
I’ll find some burial grounds To put them in
And then live my life.

And perhaps Neither option Makes a difference In the long run.

But it makes a difference to me. To live forever
With these bones
Makes me so, so numb.

And I want to hurt.
And I want to hold on.
And I want to scream into the night Until no one’s left to find me.

But first these bones must leave me. I must find some place
To light this fire
So I can walk in the night.

I must find a place
To put these bones to rest And find something alive To tend to again.

So I walk.
So I search.
And it’s so far away, But…

Behind some curtain

Of ebony night
There’s a ball of fire That I can just reach to.

I would burn these bones To no more than ash
And step into this
Bright, bold light.

I would rekindle this wick And take the lantern
To the darkest parts
Of the galaxy.

And I would be happy.
And I would find love.
And it would hurt,
And I would smile through tears.

And all I have to do is reach to it…
It’s a long way.
But if I march on through blackest night I know there’s a chance.

About the Author

Nicole Whitsell lives in West Plains, Missouri. She wrote this poem when she realized that she needed to leave her hometown in order to progress in her life. Being in the same place for years and years coupled with an incomplete, toxic household has left her with scars and ghosts, but writing gives her a sense of optimism and hope that leaving and moving on will make things different enough to begin healing what’s broken.

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This entry was posted on July 2, 2019 by in Poetry and tagged , , .
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