Poetry

Light The Fire

“I’m falling apart again
and a few moments of solace
will light the fire in my lungs.
So I can breathe again.”

And I know. I’m falling apart again. Can you see these teardrops gliding down my cheeks? I’ve been hiding this pain for far too long and I’m sinking into darkness. And this desperation flowing through my veins — this feeling of coming apart at the seams — it’s suffocating me. The only thing that seems to hold me together is you. This gravitational pull — like you’re my personal moon. Somehow, it feels like my skin is only being held together by your proximity. And I know that you’re there for me, shining through my darkness. That’s what gives me strength. A few moments of solace. That’s all I need to light the fire in my lungs. So I can breathe again. So I can keep going. That’s what makes me feel alive. You. Here with me. So please hold me until I can put myself back together again.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

Please stay in my orbit.

Poetry

Omens

“I met him once.
Late at night while I walked
down a dark road.
D e a t h .”

I met him once. Late at night while I walked on my own down a dark road. Only the moon illuminated my path, and there were no other souls in sight. Back then, walks like that were soothing. They cleared my head. But when I saw the tall, shadowy figure drop out of sight ahead of me, I knew I should turn back. That if I kept going, I wouldn’t like what waited for me. But I told myself that it was irrational. I saw the wind blowing through the trees, not a person. And certainly not a flash of something silver.

So I told myself, just keep going — the next stop sign would loop me back around towards home. I told myself, ignore the quickening pace of my heartbeat. Ignore that little voice in the back of my head telling me to run the opposite direction. In hindsight, I should’ve listened to those feelings. And of course, those instincts were right. When I approached the spot I thought I saw him, I heard a crunching on the gravel behind me. I spun around, and knew instantly who he was. D e a t h .

He clucked his tongue at me through the black hood that cast his entire face in shadow. I could’ve sworn I could see his dead, gray eyes, but a small voice in my head told me it was impossible. “You shouldn’t be out here, little girl,” he hissed. That was when all the blood drained from my face and I caught sight of the blade on his back when he moved to circle around me. “Don’t worry, I’m not here for you. But I’ll be seeing you.” He nodded to me in goodbye and then he disappeared into the shadows again.

For a long time, I stood there, gaping at the blackness where he retreated. And when I finally caught my breath, with my racing heart slowed to a reasonable level, I ran back the way I came. By sunrise the following morning, my mind was already trying to discredit my memory. But I knew the truth. I met Death, face to face. And he let me live. Was it a warning? I didn’t know.

But when I made my way to the kitchen for coffee before class, I overheard the local newscaster talking about a drunk driver that struck a tree not far from the intersection I was heading towards before my encounter. I knew that road. That driver would’ve hit me before he even saw I was there. I couldn’t fathom why Death stopped me. But I knew one thing. He wanted me to keep living. For now.

I didn’t take it as a bad omen. How could I when Death saved my life?

© Sarah Doughty
2018

Poetry

The Peace You Bring

“I felt like an intruder in your heart.
That was what it felt like
when you told me you loved me.”

I am driftwood. Bouncing between who I wanted to be, who I was, and who I was becoming. Always following a current that seemed to pull me in all different directions. I was never at the center. Never steady in one place. Just … drifting. And I suppose that’s why it was so jarring when I finally felt like the world stopped. Because that’s exactly what happened. I hit shore on a beautiful beach with white sand that led to dense trees and mountains beyond. I felt like an intruder, amongst so much beauty in your heart. But it seemed everything welcomed me with open arms. As if I belonged there all along. That was what it felt like when you told me you loved me. One minute I was seasick, and the next, I was safe on warm sand that enveloped me like your arms.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

This is the peace
you bring to me.

Poetry

In Mourning

“I mourned the loss
of everything that was — me.”

It was still night when the storm passed, I looked at the rubble that surrounded me. What was once a beautiful landscape, save for one darkened corner I never dared to enter, was nothing but broken parts of what used to be my home. And as I mourned the loss of everything that was — me — I realized it shouldn’t still be dark. Under a moonless sky, with only a few twinkling stars, I began to shiver. I knew then what happened. That darkness spread outward like a tidal wave, destroying everything in its path. It revealed so much more than I ever thought possible. It revealed what I never wanted to know. It revealed how broken I really was. How trapped I was, in the darkness. It was only after the initial shock subsided that I realized I was no longer alone. There were creatures all around me. Whispering. Taunting. Snarling. Yet they were hidden from view. I waited for them to attack, but they never came. Eventually, I labeled each one. Shame, Doubt, Fault, Guilt, Fear. Only one was given a true name — the monster I feared my whole life — Father.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

And there they remain,
in the darkness of my mind.
My demons.

This is what it feels like
to have everything
fall down around you.
This is what it feels like
to remember the darkest
time of your life.

Poetry

Choices And Burdens

“I wondered if there was
a place for me in your heart.
But then you said I was the one.”

Sometimes, in the beginning, I wondered if there was a place for me in your heart. I thought about how amazing you were and that you were the best part of my life, but there was a darker side you had yet to meet. That side of me, I thought, wasn’t something anyone should have to deal with. Because all the tears that pain and hurt caused couldn’t match the pouring rain in a monsoon. Why would anyone want a burden like that by choice? So that’s what I thought I was. A burden. I couldn’t pull you through that hell with me. And when I tried to pull away, you stopped me. It wasn’t my decision to make, you said. That was something you needed to decide. And then you said your heart already decided that I was the one. I still remember that moment like it happened yesterday. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

© Sarah Doughty

So thank you.
For choosing me.
All of me.

Poetry

The Hollow Dark

“When I am falling apart,
a hollowness begins to set in.
That’s how this darkness feels.”

When I am falling apart, a hollowness begins to set in. It feels like a still lake in the midst of a clear night in the fall. The dark ripples lap at the shore, and you can only see the silhouette of things drifting along the surface. That’s how this emptiness feels. That’s how this darkness feels. Bottomless. Limitless. And that is when I feel like nothing can go right. But if I look close enough, I can see stars glittering against that same surface. I can see the crescent of the moon. Rippling, too. In moments like that, I’m reminded that hollow darkness is only temporary.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

It is only temporary.

Poetry

Sweet Revenge

“This r e v e n g e of mine
tastes so much sweeter knowing
I’ve risen off the ground
and left my darkness behind.”

I remember, when I was little, how much I dreamt about. I remember wondering if I would escape my dark world and find my way to the other side. I remember wondering what my future would look like if I did. And I knew, as I hit the floor, that if I made it, I wouldn’t waste it. I wouldn’t be anything like the man that took so much of me. The one that robbed me of my childhood. I knew I would find a way to pick myself back up and overcome. I knew I was born for more than what he wanted from me.

And I didn’t care how long it took, but I was determined to dream. Not to chase them — because true dreamers will find a way to make them a reality. And that’s what I’ve done. I might be far from perfect, but that list of dreams — every little thing I ever wanted, but was told I would never have — has dwindled. The future made room for me. My dreams have been realized, and with every passing day, I move closer and closer to knowing, with every part of myself, that I won the fight of my life. I beat him, and a carved a life for myself.

That is how I have overcome him. That is how I’ve survived this long. That r e v e n g e of mine tastes so much sweeter when I know I’ve risen off the ground and left him in the past.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

I rose above
the thing he made of me,
and became so much more.

The darkness is just a memory
that haunts me now.

Flash and Micro Fiction, Poetry

Dead Bodies And Unseen Ghosts

“The problem isn’t so much
that I know I’m dead.
What I don’t understand
is why I’m still here.”

Do you see that over there? The chalked outline of a broken body? That’s me. Or at least it was. Now, I’m different. A little mad, maybe. Belligerent even. Because no one sees me anymore.

The problem isn’t so much that I know I’m dead. What I don’t seem to understand is why I’m still here. I believed that, in death, we just stop. Much like going to sleep. Only we never wake up again. But here I am, less than a dozen feet away from my lifeless body, trying to reconcile what I’m experiencing.

Some instantaneous flashes of brain activity? Or maybe, is this some sort of afterlife? No one can see or hear me. As I moved around the lot and the people scurrying around in the background like static, I stared at my former body.

I was fixated. Like a mouth to flame, I couldn’t bring myself to look away. And the longer I stood there, the more I put the pieces together.

My body is dead, but my spirit is very much alive.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

I can’t help but wonder
how long I have left.
Or, if I’m here alone.

A little thing inspired
by this month’s festivities.

Poetry

What I Need

“Wanting is one thing,
but need is entirely different.
I needed you and you were mine.”

I find myself thinking about the what ifs. What would I be doing if my circumstances were different. If I could live wherever I wanted. But then I reign myself back in. Because reality is what it is, and I have what I need. Wanting is one thing, but need is entirely different. I needed to write, so I write. I needed you and you were mine. That is always something to be grateful for.

It was always you. Yes, you. No matter who you are, where you are, or how you look, or how we are connected. You are here, reading these words. My soul is connected with yours in this one, finite moment.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

Thank you for being here with me.

Poetry

Eras

“And then there’s you.
You were, and always will be,
my epic love.”

When the season changes from summer to fall, and then steadily towards winter, I’m reminded that we, as people, have seasons too. On a cellular level, we shed our old selves and become new again. In a way, I find that quite romantic. How we can try to follow that same mentality when it comes to our experiences, our triumphs, our failures — our eras?

My childhood was the dark ages. I’m not sure what I would call my current phase. But that’s okay. I’m on a beautiful journey. And the best part of it all is that I’m not alone. There have been friends that have come and gone. There are friends that remain. The ones that lift me up as I try to do the same for them. They are irreplaceable. They are home. And then there’s you. You were, and always will be, my epic love. My greatest strength. My weakness, if only in the ruin that would remain if I lost you.

So, if you’re reading this, thank you for being a part of this era of my life.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

Thank you for being
on this journey with me.