by Julie Ziolkowski

Heavy like a rock bound to a swimmer,
A book tethering a balloon’s freedom,
A teammate holding a friend back from a fight.

It goes against what you strive for,
Worked for, hoped for, lived for,
Wished with all your heart that you’d achieve.

It hurts, the burden of it all,
Weighing on your heart like a beached whale,
Crushing your lungs, the sand below its mass.

Breathing becomes difficult,
The flood gates begin to fail,
Focus is lost, so centered before.

Wondering leads to flaws,
Imperfections always hidden.
Smiles go endangered; cheerfulness gone forever.

Strength wanes as the world slowly darkens,
Changed forever in a blink.