I Want To Tell You 
by Kathleen Dunbar

I want to tell you 
that you are okay 

I want to be 
the flower for you 
the small diamond water 
of the fountain 
with the mossy stones 
the clear song of the bird 
that breaks your heart 
so that you begin 
to remember 
it’s okay to be alive 

I know how hard it is 
I have the scars, too 
from the jagged monster 
who chews its children 
and leaves them 
tense-boned and 
the monster of breaking 
who fills small bodies 
with knowledge so unspeakable 
that the most golden of bells 
can make no sound 

but my love 
if you keep hope 
behind the wall 
it is no good 
no good 
you have to walk out 
into the open now 
though every sinew 
for bone and will 
have done their work 
they have brought you 
but they are 
useless creatures 
when confronted 
with kindness 

what was given to you 
long ago– 
the sad old spasm 
of protection– 
with that you 
can never know honey 
you can never truly 

oh, those old wars 
they are over and gone 
my warm hand is here 
and I’ll tell you 
over and over 
with the eloquent language 
of my fingers 
my breath 
my eyes that have seen 
death and lived 
I will tell you gladly 
that we are home at last 
alive most deeply 
in our own dignity 

though the hired warrior 
has kept you walking 
let him lay down 
in the garden’s earth now 
and sumptuously rot 
kindly let him come apart in 
worm and root 
till his hollowness 
has healed into 
the soft den of an animal 

you have always been 
the untarnishable gold bell 
and the crazy wild heart of its 
star-made clapper 
and it is time, my love 
for you to 

© Kathleen Dunbar

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