Quilt Over My Soul

My soul is covered with scabs
that patch and shield from wounds
that pierced my being
and left gaping holes of loss inside.
Those little crusty pieces of armor have become
a quilt of puffy, beautiful, patches;
each section created by thoughts
that are tied with the strings of my heart
to provide protection
so there is no seeing
and only barely feeling
the loss and regret it covers.

The tough little squares of preservation
kept me upright and moving while
hidden from guilt or condemnation
when I wanted to withdraw
and allow a hemorrhage of loss and longing.

The crusty little defenses are cracked and worn
but they still protect me
and keep what I hold inside from the view of others.
I touch the worn quilt both gently and intently
to acknowledge why
each little scabby square was needed
to keep my being intact.

Every tragedy is an intersection
of circumstances and decisions.
Both fate and choices can wound.
The little squares of armor
covering circumstance and happenstance
were built for strength and endurance.
The tough chunks covering decisions
were knit to stanch a cascade of regrets
that now only gently ooze
between the patches on my soul.

I needed to carry on so
with the little patches of belief, thought, and fable
I’ve remained nearly sane and steady
as reverberating heartaches
throbbed against my footing
and threatened to wear my soul numb
to either joy or grief.

If I lift the quilt and look into my soul,
to tell stories that have power
to elicit aching pain,
will I be able to recover
without the beautiful buffer
that has protected me for so long?
God knows I’m worried.

I’m a different person than when
the little squares of the quilt were stitched.
If I now dissolve in despair
I know that I’ll never be able
to recreate any notion or creed
that curtailed my grief
and kept me moving forward
so many years before.

Maybe touching, caressing and tenderly feeling
each little square of quilted armor
to honor its purpose and
allow the scabby relic to soften and
become a comfort.
A quilt that is no longer needed
to help my soul survive.