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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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