My Life as a Word

If my life is an ocean deep,
I cannot control the barrage of waves,
the frigid waters, nor the undertow
dragging me to the depths

If my life is a forest fire
I cannot control the wind fanning the flames,
save the woodland creatures fleeing in terror,
nor escape the scorching heat
threatening to turn me to ash

If my life is a vast, dry desert
I cannot command the rain to fall,
the drought to end, nor cast the sun from the sky
though it burns my skin

If my life is an afflicted plague
I cannot control its spread,
it’s path of destruction, or the numbers
it kills through perilous infection

If my life is a car without brakes
I cannot stop the fuel, slow the speed,
nor save all that lies in my path
though surely the wreckage is inevitable

If my life is me
All I have is me,
and what’s perhaps in my pocket –
not much, no ring of elven gold, but maybe
some chap stick and string –

All I control are these aching bones
attached to my withering limbs
and slackening skin

but also I command my language;
I have a ferocity with words
and often unleash them without thought,
they are my last defense.

I build a life raft of syllables uttered from these lips
I create a proverbial shield against the bombardment of fire
and run away on legs made from quick-witted phrases
I dig a hole with my spade of savvy repertoire, collecting
dew on a makeshift leaf of colloquium and self-talk
to filter tears of discourse to drinking water

I wear a murmuring mask articulating both the danger
and saving grace of infectious confabulation
I jump from moving vehicles with a parachute of parlance
and cushion my fall with doublespeak softness

There is redemption in language and controlling one’s own voice
There is power in joining your speech and your mind
to conquer villains of the world and of the imagination

If my life is a word
it is resilient. 

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