I am growing
My shell hurts
It hurts it hurts!
I cannot shed it
I try and try and try
I fight
I seek allies and help
I fight
One year, two years, nearly three

I’m free
My shell suddenly releases and slides off
I can feel my soft body expand
To my real size

They’re attacking!
Why why!
My brothers! My sisters!
Your claws hurt!
They are cutting me
Ow ow stop why!

I run
Scuttle sideways
Soft and clumsy
In the mud

Why why?
Oh, my wounds ache
By multiple claws
Deepest pain
In my heart
At this betrayal.

I hide
I sit
I think

It was so hard
To shed my shell
Why would they attack?

Their shells hurt too!
Their words
They were grabbing me
To try to see how I’d shed my shell
They were desperate
Oh they must be in such pain!

Can I forgive them?
Do they know not what they do?

I hide
I sit
I think
I heal

My shell is strong now
I am bigger

I will go forth
And see who is trying to shed their shell
I will try to protect the newly molted.

Between trapezes

Two and a half years
Between trapezes

Letting go is hard
But then to hang
Wait for the next
On Faith
When you can’t see your way
After a while you aren’t
Flying through the air
But falling

And screaming inside

Free fall
For hours
Days weeks years

In the company of angels
Letting go
Calls the angels
I dream of angels
Falling in a black void

And after a while
You don’t want to fall anymore
And you understand
Those who end it
It takes great strength
To hold on to the idea
That it will end.

Two and a half years
And suddenly my hands are solid
Not falling

Joy wells up
My mind is freed
From the hard work
Of falling and screaming
And I am swinging in the air

Color is back
Food melts in my mouth

Who would not be manic?

previously published on in 2010, written in mid-2000s.