Jar by Merriam AlFuhaid

Self-containment
The aspiration, the virtue, the trap
I hold you, but in my hands
I clasp a sealed jar of fireflies
It seems like all I hold
It seems like all I have

I lie next to you and also between us
The barrier I never wrapped around my head
Has instead become my skin
In a world of people looking for someone to trust
I have sought someone to let me trust myself
Someone who could take away the executioner’s axe.
But it has already been swung too far
I wanted to be unpunishable
So I put myself in a jail
With nothing to feel
Of which to be ashamed

Now I am the elephant
Never roaming from the stake
To which I am not chained
I am the patient
Who would rather keep the illness
Than face the remedy
I did not realize I would make myself a cripple
Because I refused to stand
And my feet now loathe the unfamiliar ground

I always said later
With a person, then a title, then a paper
I pointed to distant stars in the sky
And called them flames too dangerous to touch
But I was never promised even comets
Up close I see
I have been running just from fireflies
I made myself so cold
But there is nothing here to warm me
Simply pretty lights I cannot appreciate
I have been saving myself for insects
Not for fires
That intensify with time
Insects I face not with disappointment
But with regret
Because what do insects do when kept inside a jar?
They die.

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