by Melissa Boles
I once told someone I was broken.
you’re not broken, she said, but didn’t offer an alternative.
for there is no alternative. there is broken and not broken.
in pieces and whole.
and so I pretended I was not broken.
that my world did not fall to pieces before puberty
that the words that were hissed at me in the darkness were never said
that I never feared anyone or wished my body was different or thought about death
I pretended I never ever ever thought about death
when instead, I always
think about death
about a world that is better
without me in it
I saw therapists
who made me say I had issues or problems
until I finally said I feel broken
and one of them said tell me more about that
they told me about this Japanese art
and I am not Japanese
or connected to Japan
but I had never heard anything more beautiful
than Kintsugi, where you put pieces of broken pottery back together
and I decided that instead of pretending I wasn’t broken
I would gather the broken pieces, hold them together
and heal them with gold
and I think about death
and I wish I was different
and I love exactly who I am
because even in the broken
even amongst the things I don’t like about me
and others don’t like about me
the things that make me feel I will be
I remember that
because I am cracked and broken
I am also laced with gold
Melissa Boles (she/her) is a Salt Lake City-based writer and an impatient optimist who believes that storytelling is humanity’s most incredible miracle. Her chapbook, We Love in Small Moments, was published with ELJ Editions (2021), and her short plays, “Pomegranate Juice” and “Beau,” debuted at the Oregon One-Act Festival in May 2021. You can find her other work at melissaboles.com, and you can always find her on Twitter, talking about writing, mental health, and Law & Order: SVU, at @melloftheball.