These are the days when my departure approaches
as a cold wind at my back
tugging me away from you
and the warm fort I have built around my life.
“There are cracks in the walls,” I say,
“and I can only repair them from outside.”
You hear me say this,
but you don’t agree that it is true.
There was a time when you told me not to leave.
When you made piles of pillows inside the fort
and drew sketches of how we could renovate it
from the inside out.
Now you only say, “you’ve made your choice,”
as we wait in the darkness counting down
the seconds between lightning and thunder
as the storm approaches outside.
I wish it didn’t have to be this way.
I wish the wind didn’t howl my name through the splintering walls
and the roof didn’t threaten to fall in.
I wish I could stay inside with you and bask in our comforts.
These are the days I wake up after wild dreams of
travel and pregnancy, car crashes and rituals.
I wake up with awe at what I’ve seen
and grief at what will be lost.
Somehow I know, through my tears and doubt,
that outside is where my whole self waits.
Battered and alive, whole and unstoppable,
howling my own name
from the eye of the storm.
Alia Yarrow, 2018