Photo of multiple paint brushes with many different colours of paint

‘Renovations’ by El Bentivegna

Content warning: allusions to addiction.

I want to build a life
made of wood beams and red bricks,
touch up my personality
with a splash of gold paint.
These sorry bones are not brittle. These walls
have been barraged by catapults and have not
tumbled down.

Once,
I patched my roof with online purchases,
sealed my foundation with indulgent things,
tried my best to burn smoke for warmth.
I knew
this would not keep out the damp,
but it’s tough to care about getting wet
when you’re drowning.

Being a person is work.
Work is hard
when you’re half a person.

Someday my soul will be watertight.
I will shake off the storms
like droplets of dew
on a lion’s back.
Yellow tape gone,
greased latches open,
light streaming in.
Construction always takes
longer
than they say it will.

Photo of multiple paint brushes with many different colours of paint

About the author

El Bentivegna wants to tell you about themselves, but they worry you’ll think they’re needy. They live in Cleveland with their husband and their five children (cats).

Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash.

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