I Was Empty When You Met Me

I was empty when
you met me
a hollow shell
of who I could have been
lost and cracked and
desperate to be loved
you were exciting
and smart
and full of
the promise
of better things

You showed me
how to be strong
and helped me see
that I already was
you made me believe
that I could climb
the tallest trees
and so I did

It was hard
and thrilling
and a few times
I almost gave up
but I made it
to the top
and the view
was spectacular

I looked down
to share
my excitement
only to see you
light the tree
on fire
it burned quickly
almost as if
you had doused it
in gasoline
before I got there

I was confused
my newfound strength
crumbled
in my hands
I asked “why?”
you wouldn’t explain
you said it wasn’t
your fault
I was about
to get burned

I fell through
the branches
and part of my heart
caught fire
I did not break
but my existing cracks
were bigger
as if every word
you ever said
had wedged inside
and expanded

I could not
escape the hole
seared through
my heart
I felt the ash
of what had
once been whole
I spent years
trying to convince
others they could
fill the emptiness
but no one knew
quite what
I needed

Years later
I have learned
my heart is like
a starfish
each broken piece
grows into
a whole new heart
all the bits
of ash got bigger
and filled the hole
so now I’m
overflowing
and I know
I’ll be okay

Perhaps this is
what you wanted
me to learn
all along
but that
would give you
more credit
than you deserve

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