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Unsolicited Advice

“with a heart so soft, the world will break you” they say

so I tightened my ribs and caged it in,

afraid it would burst with the tiniest prick

but then you went ahead and died one day

and I waited for my heart to explode

so the whole world would know

that without you, I too could not stay.

but while all those hard hearts around me

cracked and shattered like the outside of an egg

mine shriveled and cried itself into a wreck;

a heart so soft, it wasn’t afraid to melt

and course through time and memories

as a reminder of how much

of you I still carry within me

a heart like dough, imprinted with

gentle caresses & touches, soft kisses

kneaded into its imperfect, wobbly shape

while others boast of a clean and plain

gated community of their heart’s terrain –

my heart of clay that can be molded in

any form but isn’t afraid to crack again;

doesn’t choose cowering away from pain

but is malleable enough to embrace change.

for the world will break us all indiscriminately –

hard or soft, small or large, selfish or not,

but a heart as soft as mine will bend,

break, collapse, snap into fragments,

then pick up its pieces and mend

itself into yet another form

with its soft, indestructible strength –

after all, it’s the only muscle inside my body

that beats loud enough in solidarity

to be heard in this noisy, heartbreaking world

to remind me I am never as weak or lonely,

to remind me of strength in vulnerability,

to ensure I never have to admit defeat.

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