Soft

 
Illustration of a seated woman

I used to think my softness was a weakness.

 

That it stopped me climbing the ladder

to the mythical treasure trove of wealth and happiness

that awaits those who dare adventure to those dizzying heights

 

If I could grow a thicker skin,

Harden my heart,

Care less. 

Feel less.

Then I could make it to the top

and leave everyone else behind.

 

How wrong I was to wish my softness away

It could be my superpower (if I let it). 

 

It is the lightness I need to move among things

without shaping them.

To hear the landscape speak of its ancientness

and feel the pine scented breeze move through me

blurring my edges into the sunny fields.

 

Is it the slowness I need

to break from my task

and find my son watching me, grinning

hands above head,

toe curled against the softest of thigh flesh.

Reminding me to gather him up.

 

It is the openness I need

to fill my days with brief conversations,

so that I am rarely lonely

 

“I lived in Rhodesia for 35 years with my husband

I moved here last year

Even when it’s sunny I feel the cold”

She pauses

I sense the weight of her grief

and pause with her, to remember

the sensation of the African sun in her bones.

 

It is the kindness I need

to learn before I judge.

To quell the fires of my son’s tired anger

with love or a story

(even when I too am weary and cross).

 

How wrong I was to wish my softness away

It could be my superpower (if I let it).