There was a time when she breathed
in a sealed vault,
where every poem ended
on an inhale waiting to be released.
And there was a time
when walking substituted saying words,
and in the small living room
she felt like a bird of prey,
her wingspan cramped and contained.
She began to hear women everywhere
say, “I’m sorry” and “Let me explain,”
apologies and explanations
jinglebells that should’ve been gongs.
What if you’re not sorry?
Not sorry you took the money,
not sorry you spoke your mind,
not sorry you lost track of time.
What if what you’re sorry about
isn’t sorry at all?
What of the steam you kept lidded?
What if you’re not sorry
about picking up where you left off
even if you aren’t sure where that is?
What if you are not falling apart
but coming together?
And so she stopped apologizing.
She made this her work in the world, to say:
You are not lost.
Neither are the keys to your heart,
your voice, your gut, your path.
Sometimes she forgets and gets small again,
forgets and falls victim to injustices
Then she sees your face,
jaw clenched, tears welling, heart full.
She looks into your eyes
and does not look away.
Nobody is sorry.
You leave the small room and walk out
into the field,
where you both spread your wings
to their fullest expression –
subtle or flamboyant,
breathtaking without apology,
taking up so much room
that the only thing left to do
is to soar
high above explanation,
spanning all the lives
you ever held.