The Daughter of Atlas

I am unafraid
He made me that way.
The man with strong shoulders said to me
how heavy the world weighed
but he would take it day by day.
He held me up like I was porcelain and in one hand
taught me the worth of the words I’m Proud Of You
but sadness can be defiant too
dreams can be shattered before you even wake
and you find yourself bruised at 22
haunted by what life has thrown at you
with enough nightmares to fill a lifetime
ran out of tears. Stuck. Still.

I scream at night during thunderstorms.
It’s Unfair.
I rage louder than the thunder burning through the night
then put the mask back on when it is finally daytime.
It’s Unfair.
But I was prepared.

Inside the porcelain shell is a core of titanium
with veins full of Gaelic liquor
heart fire, soul supernova, raw grit
scarred with the words Keep Going.
Be Defiant. He said.
The universe can’t give you more than you can handle
just enough before you crumble
your life is weighed and measured, careful
just enough, just enough to push, to live
You will end up where you need to be. You will be given what you need.
My shoulders are strong enough to take the burden
and on lighter days pick up others too
because that’s what he would have done
it’s my turn to take up the post.
With gratitude for those who have gone before me
I will take the world in a warm embrace
I am the daughter of Atlas
I am unafraid.

by Kimberly Jamison

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