I lived in an exoskeleton of
cynicism, sarcasm, pride
entirely closed off to harsh winds
sharper words
not letting my gooey center out
not letting matter in

I wish I found out sooner
that life begins with underbelly exposure,
with squishiness of uncomfortability,
with pins and palm needles of unsuredness
and not with The. Perfect. Plan.

I wish I had discovered earlier that
my firefly moments-
intense sudden bursts of brightness that last moments of breath-
were what built the illuminating glow of summer
that the more I recognized tiny twinkles of lights
the less terrifying night would seem
the less horrifying forests could seem
the less frightening loss should be

I wish I had learned that sometimes
backwards motion is forward momentum
that missteps could be dance steps
that lost paths are new trails
that failing gracefully isn’t failure

I wish I had known to follow that belly instinct of truth
and be a firefly.


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