Dear Girl,

Note: This piece originally exists as a spoken word poem. I wanted to publish it here, however, because I figured it shouldn’t go to waste simply sitting in my heart. Perhaps it might touch someone else out there.

I call you girl because I know you’re not yet fully grown. But don’t worry, because neither am I. I used to pray for wisdom every night, but God must have misheard me because I got wisdom teeth instead. But I’m not surprised. We’ve never been good at communicating.

But seeing you makes me want to toss prayers in the air again, the way NASA tosses hope after shuttle after hope into the sky, no matter if they simply fall back down.

Dear girl, I pray you find release. I see the springs loaded in your joints, the trigger embedded in your throat and the barrel pointed between your eyes. I jump at every sound you make, waiting for the gunshot. There never is one, but there’s a smoking barrel and a pool of red in your mouth every time you press those lips against a bong. You prefer smoke to words when you open your mouth. Maybe it’s because smoke is soft and malleable, and the right words can cut your own tongue when they tumble out. But you know, smoke is easy to swallow, and words are like wads of gum stuck to broken glass — they’ll slit you open from the inside out for the next 7 years trying to get out, so dear God, just let it out.

But I shouldn’t be one to talk. For your every inhale, I exhale. I’ve treated my entire life like it’s God’s mirror after a shower, blowing breath after breath of hot air at the glass hoping to find a secret message beneath my own reflection. I’m afraid to feel, so I touch instead. With chewed up nails and broken cuticles I run my fingers across his back at night, knowing that no matter what, I’ll never wake up to pieces of him stuck beneath my nails the morning after. I’m afraid to hold on, so I forgive instead. After all, you can’t hurt someone who doesn’t collect the pain, right? But bullets leave holes whether you acknowledge them or not and I’ve collected so many holes that catching wind of anything that could hurt is enough to blow me away, and I feel my own blood pooling as I spit these words out but dear god, seeing you makes me want to pray.

Dear girl, I pray for your salvation. I pray that the demons dancing in your head soon forget their steps. I pray that one day, every piece of insecurity hanging like fine art in your exhibition is sold, so you finally understand just how much you’re worth. Sometimes it takes standing in an empty room to recognize what the true masterpiece is. I pray that you’re brave enough to break every mirror, to sacrifice 7 years of bad luck just to learn to recognize your reflection, cracks and all. I pray that you find comfort in silence, that you learn to silence the doubt that screams your name every night in bed. I pray you learn to fly. Your heart is only heavy because it’s made of gold. I pray for your salvation, I pray for your salvation, I pray for salvation.

Dear girl, I call you girl because I know you’re not yet fully grown. There are still hollow spaces between your bones waiting for something more concrete and flowers in your mind yearning to bloom. But don’t worry. Neither am I. And when I look at you, I realize just how much we all need to pray.

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