It’s been….. too long. Too long since I let my fingers drum across these keys to write a piece of me. Too long since I let words spill from my fingertips. I’ve been missing this. I’ve given a thousand excuses about why I’ve been out of practice, but the fact is… I’ve been running. Running from the beliefs that form thoughts that form words that form actions. Because then I can deny that it ever happened. But here I am. I quit drinking 3 days ago. But I told myself it’s only for 30 days so that I could get to today. And I didn’t do it so that I could stand up and say that I’m sober in front of a circle of blank faces, clapping statically at my accomplishment. I did it to see if I could do it. And maybe that’s not reason enough, but that’s all I’ve got right now. How I got here is written in a poem I stashed away for months and put on front street the other day. Don’t tell me you’re proud of me. Or that God allowed me that trial. I’ve long since plucked myself from beneath my sheets or from a puddle of human parts to stand again. I don’t want your sympathy or your piety. I know that God has saved me from myself more times than I could know. Don’t tell me. An anger stirs from the core of me, where life once postured itself. A life that now reflects every triumph and mistake I ever made. Her name… is Cade. And she doesn’t know that three separate times in her mama’s life, someone has crushed her trust in the palm of their hand, opened it, and blown it back in her face as they proceeded to take what was never theirs to begin with. Once, years after she had already spilled from my body. You don’t know the strength of a black woman. You don’t know what exists inside of so many levels of fear, year after year, slipping it beneath her breast, into a heart that weighs heavier than a child, than a man, than the earth that will one day swallow her whole.