WHO AM I, IF NOT MY NAME?

I’ve written to this prompt before but I can’t seem to get it out of my brain. I am so many things—that’s probably why. I could list them all like rote catalogue: daughter, friend, poet, introvert, artist, dreamer. But how boring is that—how much more mundane can it get, this useless collection of adjectives handpicked by the world?

I am all and none of that.

I am the teacup smashed on the hardwood floor.

I am the indication that someone else was here just moments before, the chair still warm and the faint remnants of perfume haunting the room, unsettling it.

I am velvet in the night and soft linen when the sun rises again.

I am guitar strumming by a window open to the summer rain, peace leaking in everywhere, falling in droplets through the roof.

I am the oldest, scruffiest dog at the pound. If you take me home I will sleep by your feet and let you hold my tired bones.

I am the prom dress, years-old, collecting dust in someone’s basement. But I am also the wedding dress being tailored to perfection, not yet gracing the church aisle, still safety-pinned to the shoulders of the lifeless mannequin, waiting for its time.

I am Picasso’s Rose Period—the one so many have forgotten under the pedestal of Blue. Believe me, I exist, pink and precious and just as unforgettable.

I am the creeks and hills that hold this state together. I am the highways that divide it.

I am both the savior and the saved. The lifeboat and the capsized ship.

I am the child that has evidently outgrown its stroller. Still, I need that push.

I am not exactly lipstick, but the evidence it was put to good use. Rouge smudged at the edges, kisses on cheeks. I leave my mark on anyone I am tall enough to reach.

I am a voice grown raspy from yelling at the walls.

I am the old man at church who still walks with his arm extended outwards, reaching for his wife years already gone.

I am every word you cannot say, the ones that would warrant your mother washing the filth out of your mouth with soap.

I am my hometown that still hurts to visit. I can kick my shoes off here and rest for a bit, but I can’t stay for the summer or my soul will wilt at the edges.

I am the Saturday morning everyone sleeps through.

But I don’t mind. I let them rest. The world needs its beauty sleep.

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