I am carefully unwrapping the pieces of me
that were buried in piles of bones, or tucked behind my earlobes
like a grandpa’s magic quarter, shaking my lungs out
like Christmas stockings to find the jagged edged
snapshots I had swallowed and left unseen, making books out of songs
I never thought I could record, counting the ripples
in the music. Turning over every leaf
to find each side a new color: emerald, lemon,
cinnamon. Peeling borrowed shame
off my skin like pine sap. Dissecting the roots of the thorny trees,
prickly as toothpicks, that branch out
into veins. It is not all roasting marshmallows.
Sometimes I have to hop on one foot, or tiptoe
through masses of snakes. Sometimes the pieces I am trying to gather
flutter away from me like birds. But I am a fighter.
And, like a turtle breaking the surface of the water
I am hatching out of my cave.