May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

I’m wrapping hell’s nine circles around me

like wedding rings,

like everlasting promises

to the misery I’m willing to marry

if only so they won’t have to feel pain again.

Ring one is for the moments when

her heart crushed into powder at the sight of him,

the bruises the size of baby fists on his neck and

how she had to hold it all in.

Ring two is for the slander shed against his name

and the way he locked himself away.

Ring three is for every time he questioned your decision,

that the love of human beings was not a good enough reason

to be a human being worthy of love.

Ring four is for all the scar tissue built up from the years

where she was worse for wear, but her voice was growing

to be the person she would put on every day, and know she could win.

That the sun shines in,

that some loves are binary,

drawn together no matter how star-crossed,

simply infinite.

Rings five through eight are for the ways I tried to save them

from themselves only to realize dragons smile

while delivering the pyre and don’t stay around to lick other’s wounds

as they let their scales harden again.

Ring nine…

I wear to flip.

Claddagh with death, with my own demise,

with selfless love and better-than-nothing’s kiss.

Ring nine I wear as a daily reminder I have settled for less.

I am marrying hell if only so that I may carry the burden

for those who have convinced me to stay a little longer,

and a breathe a little easier,

even when others have walked away.

I’m marrying hell

because what good is a Phoenix

if it can’t rejoice

in the fire and brimstone,

knowing there is always the promise of another day.

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