The Beauty in Tragedy Lies in Selective Voyeurism

I’ve been taught to hate myself

And fear myself.

To suppress it all,

to collapse and cut away

At the parts of me that

Are shriveled and rough.

I’ve been told that

Where my ribs strain frantically

Against my too-tight skin,

Is where I’m most beautiful.

That the purple crescents that bruise my eyes

Are all too poetic.

That the two jobs to my name,

And my uncertain

(But certainly tragic)

Future are just so inspiring.


I am led to believe that the remnant of my

Destruction, is the beauty I should

Strive for. That my dying body

Is more beautiful

Than my hypothetically

Healthy one.

But the nights I spend

Clawing at my throat as my lungs heave

Against the silent sobs I can’t suppress,

They are not beautiful.

The desperate way my teeth

Dig into the meat of my arm,

As I struggle against a tidal wave of rage,

Is not what they wanted to imagine

Left the springtime green

Shadow of a bruise,

Just above my wrist.

The way every bite of food elicits

An argument from me:

-It’s not what I am willing to stomach-

-I can’t afford to eat today-

-If I eat this you’ll just complain of the smell-

They all lack the image

Of the starving martyr

Everyone found so sweet.


If I exist outside of the confines

Of this delicate beauty,

If they see the violence that

Creates this creature

Of silent suffering,

Then I no longer am worthy of admiration.

I have been told at every turn that destruction

is my only road to redemption--

But I am not allowed to explode.

I must wilt slowly

Like a flower slowly deprived of sunlight.

Stretching ever upwards

As I grow thinner and thinner,

Until I collapse under the weight of my own body.

Never once a wilted leaf, or browning petal

Or obvious source of my distress.


I’m not allowed either,

Any simple happiness.

No trinkets bought in an act of self-love--

I can’t enjoy my favorite foods,

Or finally, finally, revel in a night of rest.

 I’m not allowed the two small pills that keep me sane,

I can’t dance, or twirl, or jump, or leap.

There’s no days of idleness

I can claim, or comfort

In my soft-furred cat…

I am only allowed to break,

Never to mend.

People love me as an inevitable tragedy,

With nothing to give the illusion

That I will be anything but.




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