For the Ones with Backbones of Steel

For someone very dear to me whose birthday just passed, and for all my other unintentional muses who keep appearing in my writing no matter what I do. 

And it was that day that the process was complete. You emerged a lot less like a triumphant phoenix, and more like a jumbled mix of bones and cartilage, and hopes for the future dead before they had a chance to sprout in your fertile mind. You were left with cries and sirens and arms cradling the air, a soul too vast to be contained by all those that depended on you, those that fed off your vitality.

So you shrunk the parameters, and your once-infinite wing span diminished to cradle growing bodies, to re-assemble scattered bones, re-twist frayed ends. And you replaced the metallic fragments within yourself, piece by painful piece, binding each one in an alloy of the ashes left of all your losses, and your unbendable iron audacity. But were it not for your steel-clad spine, the frame of that house of twigs would have fallen immediately, so frail was it that the mere thought of a breeze originating in God’s mind would have caused it to topple before the wind even touched the earth. But were it not for the one with the metallic skeleton, calcified determination and baptism of fire, the little weaklings would have remained as dust sitting lightly on top of a tombstone.

As for you, you were bent out of shape. Stretched far too early, de-natured, violated. Your early stages were invaded with the impurity of cancerous growth and no massaging hands or earnest tears, pleas to God for help could halt the corrupting agent in its tracks. You were engulfed in smoke and the fragrance of sauces left to simmer until just right, and the stench of nervous sweat and the mist of regret and lost youth. Your spine bent even more under the weight of your newborn burden, deformed adolescence mangled by full-grown fragility. Stretched to its limit, your frame threatened to buckle and shatter under the weight that was piling up on top of your head, on your shoulders, around your wrists and your ankles. You saw yourself in metal pots, and syringes, and forceps, and rusty hubcaps, and every glance at the mirror confirmed that you were rusting from the inside out. Too early, long before your warranty was up. Metal to metal, teeth grinding into dull rounded edges, you were breaking down. Even the clear air blowing over your person brought more harm and less refreshment. Isn’t it frightening that the very things we depend on can poison us slowly?

They had begun to mine, to loot, to excavate your fleshy remains. Turning your bones into cheap tiaras, and cutlery, and fillings for rotting teeth beyond the point of saving. But landslides and earthquakes happen for a reason. You were no longer going to be the benevolent source of sustenance for all that is wrong with this world. You mended your own broken parts, refusing my feeble offers of assistance. And now I only wish you could lend me some of yourself, galvanize my decaying insides, as if you don’t do enough already.

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