Waterfall/Mind/Garden – A Poem

I am within the garden.

Strolling around my mind,

I take in everything

that has been planted there.

Every leaf, tree and flower

planted by my hand.

If I listen,

I can hear voices

travelling on the wind.

I go towards the sound

stopping when I reach the waterfall.

I can see a shimmering image,

one that I know well.

I step towards the water

and reach out to touch it,

letting the image I see

run through my fingers.

I can see bits and pieces of my face

and I can hear the voices more clearly now.

I step into the water,

letting the waterfall sluice over me,

the cold cutting into my skin for a moment,

until I am through and find myself in darkness.

The voices echo here in the dark

but it matters not

for I’ve heard these words before.

When I open my eyes, I can see an image

that I know well,

having lived it so many years before.

It shimmers in front of my eyes.

I close my eyes, but the voices become louder

as if they are demanding to be heard.

Opening my eyes again, I look hard at myself,

eight years younger but so many trials in front of him.

I am sitting with my mother and there is sorrow on her face.

There is a doctor in front of me

and he looks at me kindly.

I remember this moment,

holding my mothers hand

and feeling her squeeze my own as if to give me strength.

Someone I used to love is on my other side

and though he tries to begrudgingly take my hand,

I pull away from his grasp that is always too tight and too controlling.

Looking at the doctor,

there is a moment when I wish he would say something else,

anything else than what he said. I remember his words,

I mouth the words as he speaks them:

“I’m sorry, there isn’t an easy way to say this. You have multiple sclerosis.”

I watch myself freeze from the inside out,

the layer of ice covering my skin

so that it looks as if I am made of glass,

fragile and ready to be broken.

I can hear my mother crying with no words,

she is shaking and she squeezes my hand again,

I don’t look at her because I know that I will cry,

that I will lose myself in myself and I might never find a way out.

“We’ll have to do tests to determine what kind of multiple sclerosis you have.”

I watch as a fake smile stretches lips and when I speak,

I speak the words silently,

hearing my voice as if it is coming through the depths of water

or the layers of ice that cover my skin.

“Wow, I’ve always wanted to win the lottery!”

“I’m sorry. I know that this this can’t be easy for you.”

“I’ve already got a disability. What’s a disease on top of that?”

These words echo the loudest and they seem to mock me.

I look at myself sitting in that doctors office

and I know that trials that he has yet to take on,

I want to reach out to him,

to pull him into an embrace

and tell him that everything will eventually be okay.

I can’t do any of that, because I can’t go back in time.

Looking at myself, I reach out and run my hands through the spectre,

even as the first cracks begin to form in the ice.

I take a deep breath to stifle a sob and the scene before me begins to shrink.

As I watch, it shrinks down to a tiny dark seed,

smaller than a pearl but just as precious.

Its light fills the cavern behind the waterfall

and as I take hold of it, there is the sound of rushing wind,

filled with the sound of crying surrounds me.

I take a step forward and let the waterfall wash over me.

The air around me quiets and I stand there,

holding a seed filled with sadness and despair.

I realize that I’ve been holding onto all of this,

that I can still taste the tears that were shed all those years ago

as I lay in bed that night and wished only for death.

Looking down at the dark seed, knowing that I have to do something.

I no longer want to hold this all within me.

Taking the seed to a small corner of my mind garden,

where the sun shines the brightest and the air is warm

and it smells of honeysuckle on a summers day.

Digging a hole in the grass I plant the dark seed

and shake the water from my clothes on to it.

I stand back and wait, watching and hoping,

knowing that the only way to move forward

is to let all the pain go so that it can become something new.

As I am watching, I see a tiny green shoot push up through the grass.

I admire it for a moment,

wondering if it will be a tree or a flower or maybe some exotic plant.

I walk away, towards the sound of my husbands voice,

not knowing when I will be back,

for I have too much living

to do.

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