I have seen
your self-inflicted shackles, each bead endowed with the power
to restrict a part of your personality
so that the true you can never break free.
Worn for so long that they’ve merged with your skin
and faded so only those with a trained eye
can see them for what they are.
I couldn’t see them,
but over time you allowed me to notice.
Over time, you let slip what they really are.
And since that moment of understanding,
I’ve wanted nothing more than to ease them off you,
not forcefully –
I don’t want to break the skin and wound you
like those before have,
without thought, without purpose
other than a few laughs
that I know still cut through you
even though they are nothing,
and you are everything.
I want you to emerge fully
to stand by my side,
to always be here to hold on
to the light, to never feel the need
to bury yourself once more.