Embracing the Messy Middle

My skin is dry in all sorts of places

Even on the edges of my palms.

My palms, my hands that I used to press in paint and spread on paper

Proof of youth

Proof that I would grow.



I see so much within me

Inside me


Standing still

Yet deteriorating.

Worn edges, calloused spaces


That begin to show

In my hands.

That once made butterflies in the shadows

Flapping my fingers

Watching them fly

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Imagining where they would land.

Now those fingers have scars

From when I was fifteen

Sitting with my cousin in her attic, listening to Smashing Pumpkins, playing with a ribbon and

Melting wax.

Now those once-butterfly fingers have crooked joints

Moving in different directions

Morphing into the arthritis of my mother and grandmother.

Hangnails. Jagged. Barely Manicured.


Yet I still feel like I’m tucked safely in my cocoon

In my chrysalis of possibility

Waiting to emerge

Waiting to transform

Waiting to move through this

Oh-so-long, messy middle

Waiting for my wings