A Letter: To The Tender

I see you

Dragged through Life’s streets by your hair 

Shown things many others are saved from

Felt things that broke you in pieces you may not recover from

I’ve watched the world eat you up and spit you out

And you lay there 

Heaving from the pain

Pain that cannot be seen or touched, only felt

The scars on your heart mending themselves, all to be torn out again

In some new and sick way

In some way you never deserved 

In some way you could never have imagined 

I see you

You’ve had to claw yourself out from death

Day after day 

Night after night

You’re not like the others 

I’ve watched you fight back, barely standing 

Throwing punches at this life that repeatedly beats you

You’ve had to fight

You were given an opponent in a battle you never asked for 

In a fight you never agreed to

You’ve had no choice but to fight 

Tooth and nail

For every single good thing

It’s ingrained right there in your DNA

You know it’s there 

That spirit that refuses to die 

It was never luck 

It was never privilege 

It was sacrifice and pain and blood 

These are the cards you were dealt 

In a game against your will 

Just chance

Just raw, unhinged agony 

I see you

I’ve watched you get kicked while lying down

The world has brought you to your knees in more ways than one

But each succeeding hit just amplifies the hit before

And you’re tired

You’re so tired

You keep screaming out to the invisible referee

Saying that you surrender 

But it’s fallen on deaf ears 

And I’ve watched you get up

In the arena 

The crowds cheering your adversary’s name

Time and time again

And each time you rise

Like the embers in the fire 

Moulding to the wood 

Until you and the fire are indistinguishable 

You will burn for a while

Don’t expect otherwise 

And you will likely burn over again

That is part of it

Because Life has shown you its jagged mouth 

When you were far too innocent to bear its face 

But I see you

Gathering the remains

Stringing the pieces together like pearls on a necklace

One by one 

A pearl for every broken limb 

Because that’s what you do 

Life brings one more

And you say,

‘I still have fight left in me’

Rise up, tenderheart

You know how – you’ve just forgotten that you do.

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