I can give up smoking weed,
which is to say love
has not eliminated all of my bad feelings.
Even this love I willingly grit
my teeth for as it performs
its alchemy on me – forges me piece
by leaden piece into gold.
Love that forgives and forgives
though I drag it through the fire
with me over and over. In so many ways,
I am changed. In so many others,
I am the same old me.
Lugging the black iron chains
of my same fears, anxieties, and faults
Carrying over my ugliest parts
into the shiny new me. Love tries
to share the weight.
But love has brought its own heaviness.
It burns where love shines its light
in my darkest corners – mold-crusted, festering.
Some days I cannot meet my own eyes
in love’s unflinching mirror.
Before love, I had no interest
in living forever. I could not see
the forest for the trees. Even now
from love’s height, that mystery of green
is no less overwhelming.
There are chasms in me too deep
for even love to fill.
The summit of myself
is as steep and stony a climb
as it’s ever been
and mine alone to make.
Still, I will take someone
to walk beside.
To point out the wildflowers.
To catch me when my pickaxe mind
strikes gold in a vulnerable vein of thought –
the sheer cliff face giving away
beneath my loose gravel grasping fists.
To fish me from the crevasse
of memory when it opens
up without warning – swallows me whole.
To steady me when the altitude
between where I am and where I’m going
makes my head swim.
To celebrate with me how far I’ve come.
Madison Gill (she/her) is a poet from western Colorado. An alumni of Colorado State University-Pueblo, her work has appeared previously in various print and online publications. She has also performed and placed in literary conferences at local universities. She is currently building a tiny house in the mountains. She can be found on Instagram @sweetmint_poet