There is a thin crack in the paper thin wall,
it curves above the open casket
and spreads below the folded molding.
She fixates on it,
like it holds the key to her escape
from the flimsy funeral home she sits in.
Her family grieves around her,
their frail hearts enduring a thousand paper cuts.
She wants to stop the bleeding,
but doesn’t know how
when she’s barely surviving
her own hemorrhaging soul.
She then thinks back,
to when her papa was sick,
when her grandma suffered a heart attack,
when Aunt Jeanie developed a tumor,
and when Cathy, her pregnant cousin, died too.
Tear after tear runs down her delicate cheeks,
and the tiny crack rips- longer, wider.
Soon, she can jump through and forget this awful pain,
soon, sooner- Wait, Ellie,
Green eyes meet hers,
Will you say goodbye before you leave?
Now, she needs to jump now,
before the whole house disintegrates
under teardrops of water, drips of bloody slashes.
She will dissolve with it, unless she leaps-
She turns to say farewell,
but can’t bear to murmur her goodbye.
So she simply flees, tearing away her grasp,
right before the walls cave in.
They cover the earth in a sheet of purest white.
She remains blood red.
Porcelain bare legs
stretch off for miles and miles,
painted pale toes touch their tips to the horizon.
Kaleidoscope colors emanate from the sky,
violet, crimson, yellow, and scarlett.
Eventually, her porcelain arms give way
and she tumbles into an ocean of grass
bordered by a red rubber ring.
She swivels her eyes around the curious ring,
but loses the far right and left sides,
they stretch out infinitely.
She closes her eyes, tight, and wonders
if there’s an end to this circle,
if she could ever find it,
running on frail legs
round and round and round and round....
She opens her eyes,
and finds another pair looking down at her.
green gaze glows,
a simmering stare of emerald incandescence.
She marvels at the difference
between their verdant color
and the vibrant hues of the sky,
of the stadium around them.
Senseless, she giggles,
but hears only hallow huffs of air,
She wants to feel her mouth,
see if it’s still attached.
Ellie, the person rumbles.
The name resonates through her,
crumpling her resolve to stay senseless.
She doesn’t like that,
doesn’t want to confront her title, who she is.
She squeezes her eyes shut
and wishes to evaporate,
starting with her blue water drop irises.
But, upon her closed lids,
her mind spills what she’s tried to avoid,
the fear concealed in her weak legs,
the shame in her presence at the track,
and the unhappiness displayed by this person.
That she wasn’t enough.
When the gun went off, when the race began,
when one, then two, then all the contestants passed her,
she wasn’t enough.
She sensed her legs crack,
her frail body turn to inflexible porcelain,
she wasn’t enough.
Her breath came in huffs and puffs of empty air,
and she gave up before the finish line.
She wasn’t enough. She would never be enough.
She would never find the end to this ring, the end to her failure.
Light faintly flickers outside the window,
shatters the darkness
into night and day, day and night.
It’s fading, faintly calling to her
a small cry for help.
She slowly draws away from her bed,
and up to the chilled glass.
Outside, a tall street lamp blinks.
She suddenly remembers,
of when she was younger, hopeful,
when she gazed out this very window
and wished to dance under that light.
But then the curtain dropped down.
It covered all signs
of what shined right outside
waiting for her to come every night.
Now the light is about to cease,
meaning she’s too late.
She senses her strength start to fade
as she slowly slides to the cold floor,
her robe drifting off her shoulders.
A shaky image enters her mind,
weary wings peeking over her slumped form,
their feathers gray and dusty from disuse.
Death could take her without any fight.
It could spirit away her whisper of existence
and face no consequences.
She is done. Finished. At the end.
She feels it’s long overdue.
But then someone comes,
approaches her empty body upon the floor,
and gently rubs off the dust on her wings,
just as she looks up.
And meets green-
Verdant pools of spring-time sprouts,
that continue growing
even as so much seems to stop.
Lost in those emerald eyes, she realizes that...
Life can not be ended.
Life can never reach the end.
She can not have found the end.
She can never be at the end.
Ellie, they whisper, you are not finished...
When a door closes,
when a light dies out,
when hope, purpose, and life seems to leave,
a new one opens, lights, begins.
You are still growing.
She blinks, and the person disappears.
It’s only then she realizes
that the streetlight has at last
But she can see in the dark;
she can find comfort
in it's quiet presence.
Laughter twinkles past her ear,
shimmering like a shooting star.
She turns her head, surprised-
she must have dozed off,
lost in the past, when the future
giggles in the room next to her.
She stands up on strong sturdy legs,
thinks, maybe I should go for another run soon,
before following the laughter
as it continues to fill her head,
twirling on spindrifts of shimmering joy.
She rubs the back of her neck,
and imagines magnificent wings
stretching on either side of her back.
Her heart beats
with tiny scabbed over scars,
but still pumps,
still retains light within her soul.
She is free,
she is alive,
she is healing.
And above all else
she is happy.
Then she opens the door,
turns on the light,
and feels verdant hope swell in her chest.
Her young cousin sings her name,
giggles and bubbles with newborn life.
Hello, Catey Jean, Ellie smiles.
Catey’s green gaze sparkles
and they laugh together,
the sound ultrabright and everlasting.