An Honest Heartbeat

Now I have the mind to speak
with total, brutal honesty-
But let’s be clear about one thing…
my words haven’t earned the integrity
to blur the lines of “approximately”
and after a decade and an even three million-
(an approximate guess of the daunting milligrams)
I’ve incredibly consumed about two hundred thousand
times my weight in prescription medicine;
it’s enough to make me physically sick
and the only way I could look at it
was to break it down exactly like this…

the choices I made were a constant reminder
of where I should be when I look in the mirror-
if I closed my eyes to what I discovered
I might just end up six feet under,
or maybe that space is reserved for my neighbor
could be that I make a careless assumption
I spent ten years – giving her nothing,
still in the circle- we suffer in silence
but her life is the price for my keeping quiet
God knows that omission is exactly like lying
and God also knows I’ve been quietly dying.

Here I have strength in my weakest moments-
and pain in withdrawal like I’ve never known it
…here I wake up totally sober,
it’s here where my life’s in the hands of my neighbor
and she couldn’t tell you my favorite color
but she’s saved my soul thirty times over,
laid her hands on my heart and waited for hours-
one honest heartbeat for a round of applause,
the very definition of a gift from God.

The reality is I’ve observed grave danger,
treated my life like an unwelcome stranger-
I can multiply the approximate number,
of pills I scored and carelessly swallowed-
but as for the number of moments I squandered…
the restless nights my mind spent in wander,
there’s just no calculating the approximate range
of time I’ve been ravaged by this disease-
but let me be clear in my honesty,
it’s here I’ve been granted a chance for reprieve-
and it’s here that I care if I die in my sleep.

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