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I yell into the recesses of my heart and mind.  Into the dark places, the unseen places, the quiet, warm, rumbling places.

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I whisper to the characters, parts and pieces, and memories in my soul.

It’s safe to come out now.  The game is over.  I cannot find you, no matter how I mine or seek.  You have won.  I admit defeat.  I step aside, head hanging in a humble gesture of helplessness.

she says, the one who sees
the one who sees, but not from up above.  No.  Her seeing is not the eagle-eyed surveying wide-angle.
Mostly, she whispers, I see in the dark.  I’m crouched down, in the roots, it’s dark, warm, wet, muddy.

how do you see? confounded, I ask.  With a candle?  A flame? A flashlight?  Headlamp?

No.  I see with my body.  The shiver up my spine.  The hairs rising on the back of my neck and arms.  The burst of flames in my heart.  The warmth in my belly.  The heat in my groins. The tears in my eyes.  They are my compass, my map.  My body is the divining rod that finds the core of the matter.

Don’t go there! They told me.
It’s not safe.  You’re not supposed to.  It isn’t allowed.
We’ll cut off your hands, rip out your tongue, poke out your eyes.  You’ll see too much, they threatened, and if you don’t stop, we’ll be forced to kill you, burn you, rip you to shreds.

Yes, says the one who sees nodding slowly, eyes glistening.
My way of seeing is often scorned and rejected.  It isn’t measurable or containable or predictable.
You left me here, down in the dark nascent underworld of truth, a thousand voices murmuring, a thousand hearts beating.  Grief and death colluding to burst through your dams, promising to inundate you one day with the fertile depths of your soul, demanding to be seen and felt.

And now, she says,
the one who sees, seeing me so clearly
you’ve disassembled the dams, brick by brick, and walk freely into these places unseen.  Into the grief and death and darkness.  Willing to feel your way through the shimmering mud. Welcome back.  Welcome home.

You don’t have to hide any more, she says
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