By Theresa Lola
In the older photograph
my eyes are two frowning pockets,
and my chest only housed knots and clauses.
I used fast shutter speeds to capture photographs
before sadness spilled into the frame.
I was never one to track progress, but today I did.
Before taking that selfie, I bent the sun
toward my face and poured it into my void
like cement filling the cracks of a wall.
My troubled teenage years lingered in my throat
like a shoplifter in a supermarket aisle.
What a difference 5 years makes, today
my skin is no longer a carousel of masks.
Praises be to a thick syrup of therapy,
a puree of prayer, peelings of coping mechanisms,
a cup of my mother’s honeyed voice.
In the second photograph
the white space is filled with a safe noise.
My shoulders are firm and upward,
my eyes are two glowing pebbles.
Not even an edit can smudge this moment.