On Identity

If anyone asks where I've been,
I'll tell them I'm a swamp dweller
learning to live in a palace;
that I was floundering nose-deep
and breathing sludge when he pulled me out;
that the touch of clean air
still chafes at my waterlogged skin but
I'm getting better at standing
on solid ground with my own two feet.

I'll mention that there are times
I feel the old swampweed crawling
at my throat, and though it promises
comforts of what I once called home,
it can't embrace me anymore.
On the days I let it spread and
tangle with the gold he put around
my neck, I am choking by nightfall,
crying for him until he comes to
tear the dripping vines away
and show me that they were broken
all along, ghosts who only
grew because I called them to.

If anyone asks what I've done,
I'll tell them I once killed the man
who rescued me and left me his
inheritance. I watched him
drown where I had stood, watched
the swampweed crawl into his
mouth and fill his lungs
while he looked straight at me
and forgave and

He gave me his clothes, his
name, his father, his house—
then, like morning incarnate,
he climbed out of the swamp
and gave me himself,
absolutely alive and
glowing with more love
than I ever deserved to behold,

so if anyone asks who I am,
I'll tell them, simply,
I am his.
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