You never walk alone

| May 14, 2024
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Content note: This poem was originally delivered as a spoken word performance at the 2024 Out of the Darkness Walk, an annual event designed to engage young adults in the fight to prevent suicide. It discusses suicidal feelings.

My footsteps pound hard ground
I’m running
I don’t know where I’m going
It’s hard to tell
When the path in front of you
Is as dark as the moonless night above you
I’ve long given up on dreams
Long given up on shooting stars
But I cast a wish to the sky anyways
A wish for a tomorrow…

It’s been five years since that night.

With tentative steps
I set foot back on the path
The ground gave under my weight
And I sank back into the earth
But it wasn’t suffocating
It was warm
I didn’t know this road could hug

The trees have regrown their leaves
And lost them again
Emotions come and leave
With the seasons

They’ll ebb and flow
But always go
I didn’t know
That’s what they meant by hope

It’s strange seeing a place
I never thought I’d leave
It’s strange living a day
I never thought I’d see

But now that I’m here
Under sunrise skies
This trail’s beauty
Hits my long-dried eyes

I notice the sunlight
As it filters through a canopy
Notice the insects
Painting rainbows around me
I can smell the flowers
Can smell the joy
It’s palpable somehow
I turn around
And see the path
Feel my breath catch

Because etched into the earth
Are footsteps

Imprints made by the people who walked with me
When I thought I was walking alone
When I was running and running
Searching for the notion of home
I thought I was on my own
But the truth is
I just couldn’t see
The people who walked with me

And that’s why I’m back today
To a place I swore I’d never return to:
Because I see you
And I know you think you’re invisible
But you’re not
And I know you think you have to do this by yourself
But you don’t
And if you turn around
Steal one small glance at the ground
You’ll see footsteps

Of the people who walk with you
You never walk alone