I filled my wounds with dirt from the garden
And dressed them with heavy paint
Applied in brutally bold colors on a sanitary white canvas

Words were good too
I placed them in gaping holes
I ate them like medicine
I wrapped them around me like an ancient blanket

Healing didn’t find me in a reclined position
On a chaise lounge

Healing was located in the garden
Where I needed to be low to the ground to pull weeds
Amend
And plant

My wounds were knitted together
With sentences waiting to be read
Or written

And paint that I applied
With my fingers
Because I could not bear
The distance a brush would create
Between me and all of that white space

And miles of walking
Going nowhere in particular

All of it together
Was necessary

Wounds are tender
They take time
Be patient

Give them lots of air
And light
And words
And paint
And dirt

Ann marie Houghtailing is the co founder of Story Imprinting, a communications firm that teaches clients the art and science of storytelling.