ON SELF-SUFFICIENCY

The winner of our August Words Essay Contest on Self-Sufficiency is Lily Myers, an accomplished poet and performing artist. We hope that you will be as inspired by her work as we are and be sure to check out her amazing upcoming writing workshop series with fellow poet Chelsea Coreen as part of their powerful "The Uninterrupted Project."

WORDS: LILY MYERS

IMAGE: KATE WEINER

On Peace

In the evening,

boiling water on Zoe’s stove for Echinacea tea,

I find some forgotten ounce of compassion

for this body and its heart and the laugh that burbles out of my mouth

like water in the pot.

 

I want to treat myself well.

Not as a means but as an end in itself.

 

We sit on her couch

and eat dried pineapple from the bag.

I bend down and touch my toes,

promise them,

I will be better to you.

 

This home I have,

and what it is capable of;

it is not something to squander.

 

The smoke is not welcome

in these lungs anymore.

This heart is heavy enough

without toxin seeping in through its fragile walls.

 

To love myself as if I were a lover;

as if I were him;

it would be the mending of some deep tear.

 

Peace is less like arriving at a mountaintop

and more like a constant swim.

The breaststroke, smooth,

the fatigue that is your body telling you,

I’m working.

 

It’s something to do with the sky outside the curtain.

With walking slowly.

It is not a moral endeavor.

It is a thing of the muscles.

A slow and gratifying push.

 

It’s the legs that take themselves to bed,

the water boiled in the silver kettle,

the tea heating the throat’s back.

It is following the bones’ momentum.

I am not all good.

I have stained myself;

have planted roots of decay,

abandoned open doors.

 

But waking up is something you do not once,

but every morning.

A return, if not quite a reset.

Nothing I have done is erased.

But look, now, the night is coming,

and tomorrow the curtain,

and tomorrow the push.