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lilacs grow on the grave of angel wings

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One day you reach down your back and feel
soft feathers brush calluses.
And the gold around your wrist
feels like a noose around your neck
turned a grip around your heart, squeezing and claiming,
as sweet lips press down
six rubies on your tongue.

Fingers splay across the pulse of a want that you don't want
but you want,
and Pride smiles and whispers,
'You're an angel in the making.'

But no angel deserves their halo when
they're cast down and abandoned.
All you want is to be good—
slicked back and slick,
body curved to the weight of something
harder and stronger,
ghost arpeggios a prelude to every morning afterglow.
But they say the fruit is poison given without permission.
Now your wings are torn and falling
and what looks back in the mirror is neither
person nor angel,
but the broken piece of a hole
that was never whole to begin with.
And you're starting to wonder if
good just means gone,
and love a lie you lived in order to survive.

Then one day you reach up and feel
petals down your back.

The cold around your wrist fades
to the burn of a rope,
and that's a different kind of squeeze and
a different kind of claim, like
a sister's laugh slipping to a father's embrace,
leaving soft bruises that sink
to remind you you're still here.

Because you're still here.
And you're still you.

Grounded and flown,
the tightness around your chest
an anchor to the moment, because one second spent
learning to voice those wants
is one more second
where you find yourself in your skin.
Not as an angel,
but you.
Bruised and battered and broken
and you.

Fractures on pavements don't ever really close
but look closer,
the sunlight shines through.

And when you stretch out your arms and
feel the wing scars ripple—
see now,
that's where the lilacs grow.