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    In this powerful poem, J Daniels writes about the process of coming into your own identity.

    Peel away my shame like burnt skin,

    Chip the crystals of hurt out of my heart,

    Put a faded hat on my head, and make sure it fits.

    Chew on a piece of lavender, wink at a pretty girl.

    Stretch and break out of the shackles that are

    Holding me to the earth; so long, resentment,

    Farewell, bitterness. And finally I draw the arrow

    Out from my heel – I pack up my baggage,

    Douse it in fuel and light a match. 

    Walk away with burning behind my back.

    Vault off the ground and onto a horse,

    Tap its sides lightly with my spurs, click

    My tongue. Throat on fire from whiskey,

    Guitar slung over my back. Rodeo flares

    Wrapped around my legs and a check

    Shirt around my chest. Travelling into

    The sunset, a new cowboy ready to ride,

    Chewing on a piece of lavender,

    Working it round a smile.

    Artwork by Rachel Jung.

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