I remember saying “No”
The way it rolled off my lips with the same ease as goodmorning or goodnight
The laughter that announced its arrival and filled the silence in its wake
I remember how clean it was
No taint of “with exception” or “I’ll consider if you would only… ”
My No was softness around me
Something warm with muscles running beneath the tuft coat of a cat like beast
It coiled around my feet
licked my calves
A gentle thing to me but terrifying to others
I remember how I wielded it, fed it, loved it with an unconscious ease before I was told to chain it, hide it, deny it valuable resources so others could love me
No one has ever loved me in the particular way my No once had.
I’m remembering her as I cry over her starved and shrunken frame
As I brush her coat, give her my tears to drink and my rage to eat
I tend her the way she tended me as a child. I pull her into my heart and beg her forgiveness.
Remind her how we were once like Calvin and Hobbes
Changing worlds, bending possibility, clearing roads
Expansive… I remember her as she buries her face into my hair with relief
Grown now as I am
I remember the child this beast once guarded
I remember how precious we were to each other
And I welcome both back home.
Art Credit: Simba Wa Kike – Jennalee Auclair