A Poem Called “A Knot Around My Finger”

I was given a key in a bathroom stall.

A strange hand reached out to me, my back flat against porcelain at the sight,

Only turning so tears could turn to vomit before hitting the water below,

My face so close I could see a reflection,

But it wasn’t my own.

 

Fingers stretching, palms soft,

Unfamiliar, inviting,

I couldn’t stop myself.

I reached back.

In a moment, my fingers desperately clung to her wrist,

And as she placed the key in the center of my hand and guided me to accept what I hadn’t in so long,

Unintentionally, but willingly,

Warmth traveled from her fingertips through my veins,

A surge of light I had forgotten existed.

 

After further inspection, I noticed

A heart carved into the center of the key

Open

I laced a chain through it and around my neck,

Putting the heart on display for more strange hands to grope,

Some kind, others not,

But you can’t have one without the other.

 

Before the key,

There was a lock,

But before the lock,

There wasn’t need for a key.

No magnifying glass, no scalpel, no detective nor doctor necessary,

Watchful eyes blinded and prodding hands punctured,

Shocked out of existence by the freedom I granted my story.

 

Open then and open now,

But now there’s more spilling out.

Without a sleeve strong enough to carry my ever-bleeding heart,

I use that key instead,

Resilient by the warmth given to it on the day I was reminded of a feeling called

Hope.

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