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THE REVENANT

If you have ever written a letter in Latin because only the dead can understand you, this is a story about you.


Literally speaking, however, this is a story about survival.


Figuratively speaking, this is a story about God hanging up on me in a doctor’s office when I was 7 and screening my calls for the next 20 years.


Dear God, are you there?

I’m sorry about what I said when I was drunk.


This is about three failed overdoses,


each time the medication cradled in my palm like I was Eve

with a handful of apple seeds

and no future,

debating how far is

too far.


This is about waking up the morning after trying to erase myself from the narrative,

the stale vomit blanketing my teeth,

the unspeakable headache,

the voice inside me that clamors for my destruction, my alarm

reminding me that I picked up a shift today

thinking I’d never have to show up

and I’m already late.


This is a story about picking up every time the Void comes a-calling.


After all, there are some songs that can only be sung from the wrong side of a guardrail.


Swan songs, tuned to the key of breakneck.

This is a story about a sound that only the desperate can hear and

if you know what I mean

by a dog whistle for the dying,

this is still

a story

about you.


This is a story where the author switches the perspective so she can pretend she isn’t reading the lines carved on her heart-flap

with a butter knife

like a countdown to freedom

in front of total strangers.


Where the fight or flight response is

underpaid

and clocking overtime,

the villain is always someone you love most,

and you don’t learn any of this until the middle of the book and you know you’ve completely lost the plot

because it’s 2 AM

and one tab has a google search open for

“HOW TO STAY ALIVE” in all caps

while the tab beside it is a Wikipedia page on how much pressure it takes

to create a diamond.


This is not a cautionary tale.

This is not a parable with a lesson at the end, and this is definitely not a story about solutions.


This is a story about Quasimodo ringing the bells of Notre Dame

because the noise fills the parts of him that don’t fit together quite right,

the statistical impossibility of living long enough to see the day

I told somebody all of this, about

the enormity of knowing I’m the only thing in the whole wide world that can kill me

and the power of deciding every single moment

that this is not the end of a story

about survival.


Dear God, are you there?


I want you to know that I’m not waiting for you

to pick up the phone

anymore.


Ananias may have bet against you but you,

you bet against me

and my bad teeth

and my busted knees

and I’m not bold enough to tell you you’re wrong

where other people can hear me,

I just wanna point out that I’m still here.


I’m still here.


I want you to know this

is only a story about survival

if you haven’t been paying attention.


I want you to know that I have done so much

more than survive.

I’m a bad penny, motherfucker,

and I will always turn up

whether you want to see my face or not.


Dear God, it doesn’t matter

if you’re there or not.


Thank you.


I couldn’t believe in you

so the only option left

was to believe in me.


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