Why not shut down?

“later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

-- Warsan Shire

i want to stop the pain in that refugee child's eyes
and because
i see yours, and yours, and yours as well, and want to cradle it
not because i think
that i can fix a damn thing
but because people willing to cradle your pain
are one of the most comforting things i've ever felt
i can be so prickly when i'm uncertain
or afraid
sometimes the best you can do is reach out
and the worst you can do
is shut down
Because sometimes my best is silent presence
while you walk through pain and fear.
Because shared pain is lessened
and shared joy is increased
Because if you get past the prickles -
and there may be many, depending on our interactions -
i am tender and fierce and loving and will
pull myself asunder
for those i care about.
Because i want to wrap my arms
around the entire world,
even though i know it isn't possible
Because if i love, i love with no regret
and no hesitation
Be it friend, lover, or falling in love
Because i cannot comprehend
fear of love
Because i see the pain and the darkness
and i know i cannot fix it
But i can comfort
and cherish
and support as much as i'm allowed
That's why i can't shut off my heart.

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