You could be soft instead.

You could be patient instead.

You could see that you are doing it.

The latch in the door that won’t close

could be something you now fix—

a sign of your attention, and willingness to mend—

instead of more evidence of your failings.

You could be sweet instead.

With all the missteps and the falls.

You might kiss the bruise on your knee—

or tend to the scar on your arm, with a bit of balm, and soft touch—

instead of hating it for the way it does its job.

You might see that these scars make you interesting—

that you quite like the scars on others,

because they tell stories without needing to speak.

You could be firm instead.

when you want to slip into ease,

instead of doing the difficult work that might change you—

instead of shattering that comfort that constrains you.

You could move just a little

in the direction of your freedom,

knowing the resistance is

only serving to build your bones.

You could be soft instead.

The way you would with your baby girl, or the feather that stuck to your pants,

or the tide that hasn’t yet come in—

because you trust it will come, as it has, as it always has—

every day around 2.

As long as you stand there waiting for the water to kiss your feet,

it will greet you—

it greets you every time you show up to the shore.

You could be kind instead.

You could love yourself into a new way of being.

Since there never seems to be enough hate

or blame, or shame, or punishment

to get the job done anyway.

You could run toward the world you want,

instead of escaping the one you don’t—

even as your eyes are blind, even though you cannot yet see, or feel, or touch—

what is waiting for you there.