There Was a Certain Darkness in Me & I Couldn’t Curse It Because … – a poem by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

There Was a Certain Darkness in Me & I Couldn’t Curse It Because It’s Where I Found Myself

—for Jenn

I stopped searching for God in the far reaches of the sky.
I’ve always said being whole is overrated;

it’s the holes which make us beautiful.
I am not fire, an erupting volcano—

I am the phoenix rising from the flames someone else lit.
The same fire you ran into to save me.

She said crying is overrated, & I dropped my head thinking
of nothing more than happiness—

Crying looks like this: numb & cool & slow-moving grayish-white
fingers reaching for molecules of air like fine drizzle in spring.

There is no more room to cry.
Nothing can replace the pain of a moment or memory.

Teach me humility.
Heal me.

Decorate my doubt with iris instead.
Lace my body for sparrows to nest my ribs, perch my bones.

Oh, how you loved me so, lead me down steps & opened a gate
to the smoke & smiled. Stay here, you said,

between the volcanoes remembering
everything I say. The fire is set, she said.

You need to stop looking for answers in your tears.
Walk into the fire. It will keep you alive.


Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of three collections, nineteen chapbooks, three crime novellas, a novelette, and an experimental memoir. She hopes you’ll fall in love with her words.

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