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- This is my sense of self-worth: A dog in the wintertime, skinny, sitting squat on the side of a country road. A dog, alone, cold, still and wide-eyed as the snow comes down.
- This is my pride: An arrow, honed for hunting. An arrow, sharp, laying underneath the last layer of skin, straight, alert, at the juncture where shoulder meets heart. A hierarchy of needs, and desire is in a crown.
- This is my capacity for love: A stone, small, flat, entirely colorless but infinitely textured. Just touch alone, the weight and temperature of it in the valley of your hand, is enough. No eyes or mouth, no music; the line of your fingers against a stone in the dark of a windowless room.
- This is my self-awareness: A morning like a mirror, clear, over the fields of a careful farmer’s sunflowers. The view from the school bus, head heavy with the truth that is all pain.
- This is my weakness: A frame of wood made to look like gold, and a series of ill-fitting paintings of paradise.
- This is my courage: A wind, a coat, butter cake wrapped in tinfoil. A painting of paradise.
- This is my ability to adapt: An opening to the ocean, occasional rain stippling the surface, and underneath a dove-gray blue whale, mid-song.
- This is my ability to trust:
- This is my sense of self-hatred: Hitting the tar road at seventy miles per hour, hands on the wheel like guns pointed at dogs; hitting the water at eighty miles per hour. Crawling up the rocks, driving home. Getting up in the morning. Doing it again, again, again.